Advice to customers returning to the network as restrictions are eased

01 December 2020
"We are asking everyone to plan ahead and travel during the quiet times so that social distancing, and keeping safe, is easier for everyone. That way we can all play our part in keeping the virus at bay and helping London return to normality in the future"
  • Rigorous and enhanced cleaning of trains, buses and stations continues to ensure the network is cleaner than ever, with recent independent tests showing no sign of the virus on the network
  • Dettol hand sanitiser, proven to kill 99.9 per cent of bacteria and viruses including coronavirus (Sars-CoV-2 virus)1, is now available free from more than 1,100 hand sanitiser units on the transport network

Ahead of the lifting of national lockdown on 2 December when London will be placed in tier 2 of the Government's COVID alert levels, Transport for London (TfL) is issuing guidance for customers who will be returning to the transport network in greater numbers. More customers are expected to return as London's shops, businesses and hospitality venues reopen and university students travel home ahead of the Christmas period. 

The Government advice on travelling within tier 2 makes it clear that customers can travel to venues or amenities that are open, but they should walk or cycle where possible and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. 

Extensive measures, brought in by TfL at the start of the pandemic, will continue to provide a clean, safe and reliable network for customers and staff.

TfL is asking customers to plan ahead and travel during the quiet times. These are currently between 08:15 and 16:00 and after 17:30 on weekdays, and before noon and after 18:00 on weekends on public transport. On the roads the quiet times are between 10:00 and 15:00 and after 19:00 on weekdays, and before 10:00 and after 18:00 on weekends.

TfL has also published information about quiet stations and stops at to help people travel through London during the quieter times and help maintain social distancing.  The list will be updated regularly as lockdown is lifted and parts of London become busier, particularly around shopping areas.

In line with Government measures, customers in tier 3 areas, such as those just outside of London (Kent and the Medway and Slough) where TfL services run, must ensure they are adhering to tier 3 rules when in tier 2 areas. This means avoiding travel outside of their local areas unless travelling for education or work purposes where work cannot be done from home.

Across London, TfL has been running a full planned service for several months to help ensure there is sufficient space for all those needing to travel around the capital. Tube and rail services through central London run from around 05:00 to after midnight every day, with buses continuing to operate around the clock, supporting customers visiting hospitality venues which will reopen once the restrictions are eased. 

Extensive signage is in place on trains, buses, platforms and stations, reminding everyone to remember to socially distance, and TfL's enforcement staff and its police partners are actively enforcing the national requirement for everyone to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth while in a station or travelling on public transport, unless they are exempt. The vast majority of customers have been complying with this requirement with compliance at around 90 per cent across the network. The police and TfL's enforcement officers are working hard to ensure that the minority who are not complying are targeted, and if necessary, refused entry to the network and fined.

An enhanced cleaning regime on London's transport network continues to make the network cleaner than ever. Trains and stations are cleaned with hospital-grade cleaning substances that kill viruses and bacteria on contact and providing ongoing protection. Recent independent testing, carried out by Imperial College London, has found - for the third month in a row - no trace of coronavirus on the Tube and bus network.

TfL has also recently installed more than 150 ultraviolet light sanitising devices on escalators on the London Underground network, following a six-week trial earlier this year. The devices use UV light to clean the handrails on escalators and supplement TfL's existing extensive anti-viral cleaning regime.

By continuing to adopt good hygiene habits like sanitising their hands, customers can also help reduce the spread of coronavirus and other illness causing germs. To help with this, earlier this year TfL entered into an extensive partnership with Dettol to install hand sanitiser units across the London Underground network filled. Dettol hand sanitiser, which kills 99.9 per cent of bacteria1 and viruses, including the coronavirus, is currently available from dispensers at all 270 London Underground stations across London.

Following the success of the initial partnership, it has now being extended to cover Dettol hand sanitiser units at all London Overground and Docklands Light Railway, as well as TfL Rail stations managed by TfL. It will also be available from dispensers at more than 30 bus stations across London, as well as at selected taxi ranks outside key London Underground stations, including Victoria, Stratford and London Bridge.

To support customers to plan their journeys, the TfL Go app makes it easier to plan journeys while on the move. The iPhone app provides information on the quiet times to travel and real-time information, including live 'next bus' information and step-free accessibility information. An Android version of the app will be released in the coming weeks.

Andy Byford, London's Transport Commissioner, said:

'Londoners will be keen to enjoy London's shops, businesses and hospitality venues in the run up to Christmas. That's good for London, and we are here to get you where you need to go, but it's incredibly important that everyone follows the Government guidance on how to keep everyone safe and that customers continue to take the simple steps of good hand hygiene, social distancing wherever possible and wearing a face covering throughout journeys unless exempt.  The minority of people who refuse to wear a face covering and who aren't exempt, risk being issued a fine from the police or our own enforcement officers.  

'Parts of London may be busier, particularly around the popular shopping and hospitality destinations, so we are asking everyone to plan ahead and travel during the quiet times so that social distancing, and keeping safe, is easier for everyone. That way we can all play our part in keeping the virus at bay and helping London return to normality in the future.'

Luca Tamagni, Marketing Director Dettol Europe, said:

'There is no doubt that good hygiene is one of the foundations of good health, and as we continue to navigate the current situation, Dettol remains passionate about providing as many people the opportunity to make good hygiene choices.

'In whatever capacity you might be using the transport system, as a brand that truly has a meaningful role to play in disinfection, Dettol is proud to make hand-sanitiser available throughout London's transport system to help reduce the spread of the virus.'

Andrew Goodacre, Chief Executive of the British Independent Retail Association (BIRA), said:

'As the shops reopen on Wednesday, BIRA welcomes the positive measures taken by TfL. It is important that as well as feeling safe in the shops, shoppers also feel safe using public transport - so crucial moving around London. This is the most important December ever for retail and we need to ensure that customers return to the shops whilst keeping them safe.'

For more information about the measures TfL has introduced to protect its customers across its network, please visit

Notes to editors:

  1. Confirmation on the effectiveness of Dettol's hand sanitiser against the Sars-Cov-2 virus (Covid 19) can be found here - and