Passengers continue avoiding buses and trains
PUBLISHED: 17:05 13 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:31 13 May 2020
Despite concerns about crowded buses and trains in London, Suffolk transport operators say they have seen no increase in passenger numbers this week despite efforts by the government to get people back to work.
Train operator Greater Anglia is running a special service for essential workers only, and its trains have been about 5% full since lockdown began. A spokeswoman for the company said there had been no change to that.
She said: “In fact today (Wednesday) we seem to have fewer passengers than ever on our trains. And Liverpool Street Station has been very quiet as well.”
There was concern that coronavirus could start spreading again in the capital after some photographs appeared showing both underground trains and buses travelling with so many passengers that social distancing was impossible.
But on the main line there remains only a small proportion of the normal passengers travelling – although the number of trains being run will increase next week with a new timetable being introduced.
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At present Ipswich station is almost deserted apart from a few staff – and the birds, including a pair of oystercatchers, which have built nests on the canopy roof and can be seen by the few people using the footbridge at present.
It is not just the region’s trains that remain largely deserted. Ipswich Buses general manager Steve Bryce said the number of passengers they were carrying remained very low: “I’ve just walked to the bus station at Tower Ramparts and it’s the quietest I’ve ever seen it.
“We think we may see a few more passengers next week as some more businesses start to reopen, but we shall have to see what happens.”
He is also looking ahead to June when some schools may start to open their doors again – details of changes to services are expected to be announced early next week.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has urged people not to “flood back” onto public transport as they return to work.
He said: “We are asking people to be very sensible and not flood back to public transport. 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.”
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