Wednesday 13 January 2021 1:54 pm

Square Mile sees four times as many commuters than during first lockdown

There were four times as many trips made on public transport in the City of London last week than during the spring’s first lockdown, Transport for London (TfL) data shows.

Last week there were around 80,000 entrances and exits from Tube stations in the capital’s financial district, which equates to 40,000 journeys.

Read more: Business secretary slams firms not allowing staff to work from home

By contrast, back in April Square Mile commuters made the equivalent of just 10,000 trips, as widespread working from home became the norm.

As during the first lockdown, home working is compulsory for all but essential workers and those who work in childcare, education, construction, and manufacturing.

The same pattern was in evidence across the whole Tube network last week, with three times as many journeys made per day on average than back in April.

According to the figures, there were 614,000 journeys made last Friday, compared to around 200,000 a day in the spring.

Prior to the pandemic, the City used to see more than 450,000 journeys a day.

The figures came after City A.M. revealed some firms have at points offered staff unpaid leave as an alternative to returning to the office.

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng slammed such companies, saying: “The law is clear that you may only leave your home for work if you cannot reasonably work from home. 

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“The overwhelming majority of businesses are doing the right thing, but we need all employers to act responsibly and take every possible step to help their employees work from home.

“Each and every one of us has a role to play in protecting our NHS and saving lives.”

Concerns that people are not taking the new lockdown measures as seriously as previous iterations have led the government to redouble its efforts to communicate the severity of the situation.

A series of ministers and public officials have been urging people to stay at home and reduce social contact as much as possible.

Read more: Exclusive: Ted Baker uses unpaid leave to pressure staff to return to the office

The new drop in passenger numbers will heap yet more pressure on TfL’s finances, with its current bailout package due to run out in March.

A series of bad-tempered talks in the autumn saw the transport operator get £1.8bn to keep services running, but in return it agreed to cut free travel programmes for under 18s and over 65 year olds.

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