Another day, another bunch of news footage of people cramming themselves onto London’s public transport network in the middle of a pandemic. This time it’s the buses that are getting all the attention thanks to this tweet from Sky News.
Sights such as these have led Grant Shapps to tell BBC Breakfast that he wouldn’t personally risk getting on a crowded bus or tube in the current climate. “People should try to avoid that,” the transport secretary said. “There are a lot of extra staff marshallers being organised at train stations and bus interchanges to try to advise people to avoid going on that route.”
Obviously it’s part of Shapps’ job right now to communicate that public should keep public transport usage to a minimum. But for many people, it’s not clear they have a choice. The government has suggested that certain businesses start reopening, and public transport is the main way Londoners get to work. So many of those returning to work this week will have to take tube or bus – and not every boss in the land is going to be understanding about their staff’s desire to avoid peaks hours services. Most of those crowding onto public transport are not doing so entirely of their own free will.
“We are asking people to be very sensible and not flood back to public transport,” Shapps told Sky News. “Even with all the trains and buses back to running when they are, there will not be enough space. One in 10 people will be able to travel without overcrowding.” But it’s very far from clear that asking nicely is going to solve this one. More from the Guardian here.