Tube drivers 'furious' as trains remain packed despite social distancing warnings

The Government have warned against all non-essential travel to help stem the spread of the coronavirus in the UK

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Passengers wait on the platform for a Central Line underground train at Stratford station, east London
Passengers wait on the platform for a Central Line underground train at Stratford station, east London Credit: AFP

London Underground staff were "furious" after trains remained packed on Monday morning despite passengers being urged not to travel unless they have a critical job.

Finn Brennan, District Organiser for train drivers' union Aslef, expressed alarm at services that were extremely busy, despite advice aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

He wrote on Twitter: "Still heavy loading on some Tube lines this morning making social distancing impossible.

"This is endangering the health of the vital workers who have to use the system. The Government must act now to ensure only ESSENTIAL journeys are made.

"I'm being sent pictures of crush loaded platforms at some Jubilee line platforms this morning. Drivers and other frontline staff are furious."

Mick Cash, General Secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said: "There is still enormous personal pressure on the Tube workforce who are exposed to levels of social contact that the Government say are unacceptable for the wider public.

"The only people using our transport services should be essential workers who have to travel. Everyone else should stay away to protect themselves, the staff and the wider community."

Passengers squeeze on to a busy Central Line underground train at Stratford station, east London Credit: AFP

Several social media users posted images of busy London Underground lines on Monday morning, with commuters in close proximity despite Government pleas to practice social distancing.

Some claimed there was little other option for those who needed to travel in for work, since a number of services had been reduced by Transport for London (TfL).

TfL has suspended the Circle line and Waterloo & City line, and reduced frequencies on other parts of the Tube network. Bus services have also been cut. It is urging people to only travel if their journey is "absolutely essential".

Nurse Julia Harris tweeted pictures of queues and a packed carriage at North Greenwich tube station, where trains were running every seven minutes.

She urged Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Prime Minister Boris Johnson to address the situation, adding: "This is becoming dangerous for critical workers."

Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, has suggested that NHS staff could be given free parking at hospitals, which may reduce public transport passenger numbers.

He told Sky News: "We are looking at that, actually. I can't make an announcement now.

"There are complications because you have got to make sure patients are able to park, but it is something that if we can find a way to do it, I would love to."