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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 26 February 2021

Passengers riding on London Underground ‘petri dish’ demand action

Trains are getting crowded despite efforts to reduce travel to just essential workers

Overcrowding on transport in London is a growing problem as people ignore social distancing and face masks orders, with commuters saying they are forced to travel in ‘petri dish’ trains ideal for catching coronavirus.

The problem was highlighted at one station by alarming pictures showing passengers crushed into carriages and packed together on the platforms.

Transport for London blamed the overcrowding on staff shortages, but passengers say it is a daily issue, and not just at Canning Town.

In the jam, travellers failed to socially distance and some were not wearing masks.

Commuters say the regular daily trip is now routinely overcrowded and are calling for action from TfL.

Father Grant Ciccone was on board one of the trains and said he felt unsafe travelling in the morning rush hour.

“We are in lockdown and it is meant to be only essential workers travelling to work. A lot of people also are not wearing face coverings for whatever reason. This enclosed space is a petri dish where the new variant can spread from person to person,” he told The National.

Father Grant said the overcrowding problem is happening daily and by the time trains reach Canning Town, they are already full.

“Today, I had to let two trains go before I got on the tube, and even that was packed,” he said on Friday. “The line is a nightmare. It’s as bad as it ever was, even before the pandemic

“I remember at the beginning of the first wave the tubes were practically empty. The lockdown was followed more strictly but now it seems to be the world and his cousin are there.”

He wants the government and TfL to show it is taking the problem seriously.

“They need to look at who should be travelling, so that it is only essential workers. There needs to be fewer people on the trains and for social distancing they need to cut the train capacity,” he said.

“This is a major public health issue and it does not seem TfL realises that.”

London Underground blamed the delays on staff shortages.

“Three Jubilee trains serving Canning Town were unfortunately cancelled at short notice this morning due to staff absence, causing higher numbers of people to be waiting on platforms for a short amount of time," said Nick Dent, London Underground’s director of line operations.

“This morning’s video is not representative of the rest of the Tube network, nor of this station for the rest of the day.”

The UK lockdown is set to last until next month at least, with people being told to stay at home unless their travel is deemed essential.

Tube bosses are urging passengers to travel during off-peak hours if they are unable to work from home.

Updated: January 15, 2021 06:01 PM

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