TfL publishes advice for businesses on how to keep staff safe as they return to work
Transport for London (TfL) today published advice for businesses across London on how they can play a part in controlling the coronavirus as national restrictions on movement are gradually lifted.
The TfL advice works alongside Government guidance on safe travel, helping businesses to understand the specific challenges for London's transport network during the pandemic and how to keep their staff safe as they consider how they will return to work.
Safety is always TfL's top priority, and a plan is in place to help London re-open carefully, safely and sustainably. In line with Government plans to increase National Rail services, TfL is working hard to return Tube and bus services to normal levels as soon as possible despite staff members still ill, shielding or self-isolating. It is operating around 75 per cent of Tube services and around 85 per cent of bus services. However, even if 100 per cent of services were being operated, the number of people TfL would be able to safely carry would still be constrained to around 13-15 per cent of normal whilst the recommendation of 2m social distancing remains.
Measures to help enable social distancing wherever possible are being put in place. These include new signage and platform stickers, as well as operating stations differently through restricting entry if necessary and one-way and queuing systems.
Hundreds of hand sanitiser points have started to be introduced across the transport network, with these soon being installed at every Tube and TfL Rail station. They will also be installed in all bus stations, Victoria Coach Station, TfL river piers, the Woolwich Ferry, Emirates Air Line and at all London Overground and DLR stations where it's safe and secure to do so.
TfL also introduced an enhanced cleaning regime on the network earlier this year. This includes additional hospital-grade cleaning substances that kill viruses and bacteria on contact, new anti-viral disinfectant that protects for up to 30 days, key interchanges being cleaned more frequently - including during the day - and all regular 'touch point' areas on buses, such as poles and doors, being wiped down with a strong disinfectant every day.
TfL is doing everything possible to provide a safe transport network for those people who need to use it. But businesses can also help enable social distancing wherever possible by keeping the numbers of people travelling on public transport down.
The TfL advice sets out that employers can play a vital role in controlling the virus by enabling employees to follow the latest Government and TfL travel advice, reinforcing TfL travel advice amongst employees and reducing the frequency of, or retiming, deliveries and servicing trips.
TfL has asked all employers to give the following advice to their staff:
- Given the national requirement to maintain two metres distance between passengers wherever possible, the capacity on the Tube and buses will be reduced to around 13-15 per cent, even once services are back to full strength. This of course means transport must operate very differently.
- In line with new Government advice, everyone who can work from home should continue to do so. Public transport should be avoided wherever possible to free up the limited space available to those who have no alternative way to travel.
- If you must travel, please plan ahead and travel outside of the busiest times, particularly first thing in the morning. You should take the most direct route and avoid busy interchanges.
- Peak times to avoid wherever possible are 05:45-08:15 and 16:00-17:30.
- If you can, please walk or cycle for all or part of your journey. TfL has been introducing a wide range of improvements in partnership with boroughs to widen footpaths and provide more cycle lanes.
- TfL is taking measures across the transport network to enable social distancing of two metres where possible.
- Please wear a face covering and do not travel if you have any symptoms of the virus.
- You may be asked to wait to enter a station. Some stations will have one-way systems, or you may be asked to walk on the left. TfL is also asking people to maintain social distancing throughout stations, for example on stairs, escalators and in lifts.
- If travelling by bus, please maintain social distancing at stops and bus stations wherever possible.
- It is also important that you continue to follow the Government advice on hygiene. Please wash your hands before and after travel and carry hand sanitiser with you. We have also started putting hand sanitiser dispensers in stations and will be installing many more in the coming weeks.
- Please be considerate to transport staff and follow their instructions. Everyone is doing their best in these difficult times
Mike Brown MVO, London's Transport Commissioner, said: "As national restrictions on movement are gradually relaxed and people who can't work from home begin to return to their workplaces, we are safely ramping up our services as quickly as possible.
"But a huge transport challenge remains, with social distancing meaning that the number of people we can safely carry is significantly constrained. That's why we are working closely with the Mayor and the local boroughs to provide a huge range of new walking and cycling facilities. It's also why we and London's businesses need to work closely together, as we always do, to ensure that their employees can get around safely.
"Businesses can do this by ensuring their employees have all the latest guidance from the Government and TfL and continue to advise everyone to work from home where possible, avoid public transport, walk or cycle where possible and - if using public transport is essential - travel outside of peak hours and wear a face covering."
Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: "The coronavirus pandemic presents unprecedented challenges to London's transport network. It's an inescapable fact that no mass transport system of the scale we have in London can accommodate as many people as it used to while maintaining social distancing - even with all services running.
"That is why it's vital that all Londoners - especially businesses - work with us to prevent overcrowding on the network. We are urging businesses to do all they can to assist their employees with the resources they need to continue working from home and encourage staff to travel by bike or on foot wherever possible. If journeys have to be made by public transport it's essential that Londoners avoid travelling at the busiest times and always wear a facial covering."
To help support the extra journeys that will need to be made by walking or cycling, TfL is delivering the London Streetspace programme. This will rapidly transform London's streets to accommodate a possible ten-fold increase in cycling and five-fold increase in walking and will:
- Transform parts of central London into one of the largest car-free zones in any capital city in the world
- Widen pavements at local pinch points across London
- Create a new temporary strategic cycling network for Londoners
TfL is working extremely closely with London's boroughs and landowners to deliver this crucial work. Through effective partnership working TfL has already been able to close all roads in Royal Parks at weekends, widen a number of high streets and create a cycle lane on Park Lane.
This transformational work is absolutely essential to enable safe social distancing on London's streets and on public transport as lockdown restrictions are eased. The plan will also ensure improvements to the city's air quality are maintained after lockdown. TfL will create walking and cycling corridors between:
- London Bridge and Shoreditch
- Euston and Waterloo
- Old Street and Holborn
- Merton and Elephant and Castle
- Pimlico and Putney
Meanwhile, London Bridge and Waterloo Bridge will be closed to general traffic, giving priority to walking, cycling and buses.
TfL's advice to business is available here: http://content.tfl.gov.uk/briefing-for-businesses-coronavirus.pdf