09 May Coronavirus: Transport system will be reduced to just 10% c…
Grant Shapps has revealed that large swathes of the country’s public transport network will be reduced to just 10 per cent capacity due to coronavirus social distancing measures – even when full services resume.
The transport secretary said getting Britain moving again while avoiding overcrowding represented an “enormous logistical challenge”, and even with every train, bus and tram fully operational it “will not be enough”.
He also warned that moving beyond coronavirus will be a “gradual” process, rather than a “single leap to freedom”, as Boris Johnson prepares to address the nation on Sunday evening, setting out the country’s next phase in the pandemic that has claimed more than 31,000 lives in the UK.
Mr Shapps said the prime minister will proceed with “extreme caution” in easing the lockdown but hinted some restrictions could be tightened, such as the mandatory self-isolation for 14 days of people arriving in Britain.
On the scale of the challenge facing the country’s transport system, he said: “When we do emerge, the world will seem quite different, or at least for some time. The need to maintain social distancing means that our public transport system cannot go back to where it left off.
“Here is a very stark fact: even with public transport reverting to a full service, once you take into account the two-metre social distancing rule, there will only be effective capacity for one in 10 passengers in many parts of the network. Just a tenth of the old capacity.”