An army of transport police will be deployed at railway stations, over fears of chaos after commuters were warned they would be barred from boarding ‘overcrowded’ trains.
Train companies took the extraordinary step on Sunday of urging passengers not to travel, with services operating at as little as ten per cent capacity to maintain social distancing rules.
538prom精品视频在线播放British Transport Police said thousands of officers had been drafted in to patrol platforms at mainline stations and on the London Underground.
But a spokesman admitted there was nothing illegal in a passenger breaking social distancing guidelines and no law that could prevent a commuter boarding a ‘crowded’ train.
The Rail Delivery Group, the body representing the rail industry, urged passengers to travel only if “really necessary” and to use alternative transport despite Boris Johnson’s call for Britons to return to work.
538prom精品视频在线播放Passenger numbers are expected to rise by as much as a quarter this week.
Stations have recruited marshalls to organise queues and police said they would provide back-up if staff were threatened.
Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader, warned that the transport network faced "chaos" and "overcrowding" and took a swipe at the Government over its mixed messaging.
Sir Iain told The Telegraph: "You can’t urge people to return to work and then just say 'don’t travel by public transport’. For millions of people that is the only option. You have to get it organised."
538prom精品视频在线播放He called for train operators to run a normal timetable and for ministers to reduce the safe social distance from two metres to one and a half metres in line with other countries.
“If we don’t get back to work we are completely bust,” Sir Iain said.
LNER, the publicly owned operator linking London King’s Cross with Yorkshire, north-east England and Scotland, will insist on reservations from 11am today while Avanti West Coast is advising travellers to book ahead and insisted it would shut gates as soon as social distancing rules were being breached.
LNER will require passengers to sit in every fourth row, leaving two empty rows between each commuted.
There are particular concerns in London, with fears mayor Sadiq Khan’s decision to reinstate the congestion charge will push commuters on to public transport.
538prom精品视频在线播放Some of the 39 Tube stations which closed during lockdown will reopen this week, with Transport for London aiming to restore a service on the Circle line.
The train drivers' union Aslef has advised its members of their right to refuse to work in circumstances where they are at risk of serious and imminent danger.
538prom精品视频在线播放Nigel Goodband, BTP police federation chairman, said: “As a force, we have had a call to arms this weekend and all officers will be out and about, particularly in London.
“We are there to support passengers and staff, we are not there to tell people to stand two metres apart. There are a minority who don’t follow the guidelines and may not think about other people’s safety. Rail staff and officers are still being threatened, being assaulted and that’s why officers will be there to deal with those individuals.
"We will be there to ensure that tensions don’t reach a point where people are spitting, coughing or assaulting staff. We are there to ensure it’s a secure infrastructure.
'The Prime Minister and Secretary of State have expected BTP to help facilitate the country getting back up and running. They have a big expectation on our officers. I know BTP officers will rise to that challenge and I am sure people will travel safely.'
He believed congestion charge could increase risk of crowds on trains: 'A lot of people are financially struggling. Will putting up the congestion charge mean more people on the railways? I expect so.