Transport services are being slashed on a number of routes in England

The Canary

Public transport operators have started slashing services due to coronavirus (Covid-19).

Train, coach and bus frequencies are being cut amid a collapse in demand and government advice on avoiding non-essential travel.

Northern Trains said there will be cancellations on a dozen routes on 19 March “as a result of Covid-19”.

The affected routes include Liverpool-Manchester Airport, Leeds/Sheffield–Nottingham and Newcastle-Carlisle.

South Western Railway said it is cancelling trains at short notice as, “like most organisations, we’re seeing more staff having to stay at home unwell”.

Great Western Railway has announced its sleeper service between London Paddington and Penzance – known as the Night Riviera – will be suspended after 20 March “to protect our customers and colleagues”.

Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions at industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said train companies will operate services to “as many places as possible in line with demand”.

He added that this must be balanced with “ensuring we are able to maintain staffing levels needed”.

Transport for London said it will close up to 40 London Underground stations until further notice in a bid to “ensure a safe and reliable service”.

The Night Tube, which normally operates on Friday and Saturday nights, has been suspended, and there will be no Waterloo and City line services.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Buses in the capital will operate fewer services.

The UK’s largest operator of scheduled coach services, National Express, said it will reduce its capacity by 80%.

This means it will be running the equivalent of a Christmas Day timetable every day.

The firm’s bus networks – which operate across the West Midlands and urban services in Coventry and Dundee – have been cut to a typical Sunday service.

This amounts to the removal of around 40% of its bus mileage.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has spoken of his desire to avoid “ghost trains”, but noted that it may be desirable to keep as many services running as possible to provide space for passengers to comply with social distancing requirements.

He told MPs on 17 March that rail companies, as well as bus firms and airlines, could be temporarily nationalised to help them through the coronavirus outbreak.

He said good organisations “shouldn’t be going bust” as a result of problems caused by the spread of Covid-19.

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us