Thursday 12 March 2020 6:19 pm

Tube passenger numbers fall during UK coronavirus outbreak

The amount of passengers on the Tube has declined in the past four weeks during the coronavirus outbreak.

The number of London Underground journeys has dropped by 1.6 per cent in the past four weeks compared to a year ago, while trips in the past 12 weeks are down 1 per cent compared to a year ago.

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The figures were released yesterday in Transport for London’s (TfL) latest finance committee report.

The report also revealed that total operating income for TfL was £9m less than expected for the 2019-20 up to 1 February.

This comes off the back of passenger income being £7m less than it had budgeted.

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A TfL spokesperson said the drop in Tube numbers may be due to more people working at home during the spread of Covid-19.

“The overwhelming majority of Londoners are using our services as normal in line with the Public Health England advice that there is no specific concern about public transport,” they said.

“We have seen a small reduction in ridership over the last week.

“This may reflect some of the pre-emptive action taken by some employers around coronavirus, but passenger ridership is affected by a range of factors including fluctuations in the economy and extended periods of bad weather.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan today said there were no plans to shut down public transport or limit Tube journeys in the face of increasing panic over Covid-19.

He said measures like shutting the London Underground could make the spread of the virus worse.

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Speaking to LBC, he said: “You could inadvertently make matters worse by taking measures such as closing down schools. If you stop the Tubes and the buses running, people will take different steps.

“They may start driving in central London or start doing other things that will spread the virus. If you cancel sporting events and you go and watch it in the pub, you’re more likely if there’s someone with coronavirus in a pub to catch it then if there’s 70,000 people.”

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