Tube demand up 10% on Thursday compared with last week

There was a 10% increase in London Underground journeys early on Thursday compared with the same period last week, Transport for London (TfL) said.

Demand between 5am to 6am was up compared with last week but down from Wednesday.

People in England are being urged to return to work but avoid public transport.

Cabinet minister Robert Jenrick said he would be prepared to board a packed bus or train to commute to work as the coronavirus lockdown is eased, although he acknowledged overcrowding was a problem.

The Communities Secretary told BBC Radio 5 Live: “Yes, I would do.

“We have given guidance that to protect yourself and others you could choose to wear a face covering.

“You should be taking precautions like social distancing if you can – I appreciate that isn’t always possible and some of the scenes… show buses and Tubes too full to be able to sit two metres apart and that’s a problem.

“That’s one of the reasons why we are trying to encourage as many people as can to drive to work – if they have a car – or to walk or cycle.”

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT union, accused the Government of having a “contradictory and potentially lethal approach” to the pandemic.

He said: “When we go outside our homes into open spaces two-metre social distancing must be maintained at all times, but then on the other hand the Government is not lifting a finger to prevent the cramming of passengers into confined spaces on bus, train and Tube services.”

Data published by location technology firm TomTom showed there was more traffic in the UK’s major cities compared with the previous week.

The congestion level in London at 8am was 19%, up from 16% last week.

Other cities to experience an increase include Belfast (from 12% to 15%), Birmingham (from 9% to 11%), Cardiff (from 8% to 11%), Edinburgh (from 12% to 15%) and Manchester (from 10% to 13%).

The figures represent the proportion of additional time required for journeys compared with free-flow conditions.

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