Agenda item

Impact of Covid 19 on Bus and Rail Services

To receive a presentation from Transport for London for discussion on the impact of Covid 19 on the bus and rail services. 


The Chair introduced Amma Coleman-Green from Transport for London and invited her to give a presentation on the impact of Covid 19 on bus and rail services.  Copies of the slides are attached to the agenda and are available on request from the Committee Secretary. 


1.            Presentation on the Impact of Covid 19 on Bus and Rail Services


Amma Colman-Green highlighted the following: 


·         A new enhanced cleaning regime, using a strong anti-viral disinfectant had been introduced on all train and bus services.  Cleaning was taking place at the end of every day, as well as more frequently at key interchanges. 


·         Extra attention was being paid to poles, doors, rails and buttons.


·         Over 1,000 hand sanitiser points had been installed across the network.


·         Clear signage put in place to encourage social distancing and the wearing of face coverings.


·         A new app had been developed for iphones, which allowed people to find out how busy a station was at a particular time of day, to help them to be able to plan to use services when they were less busy.   It was also due to be extended to android users. 


·         Work was being carried out to encourage active travel, to enable people to walk and cycle more easily.  Temporary cycle lanes had been put in place as well as temporary wider pavements to enable social distancing.


·         Schools have been supported to maintain social distancing including through: 


o   Temporary widening of pavements.

o   Schools streets with restricted vehicle access at school dropping off and picking up times had been bought in for certain school streets.

o   Traffic lights having more time for people to cross the road

o    Additional buses had been put on specially for school children.  This fitted in with staggered starting and finishing times. 


·         Transport for London finances had been severely reduced as a result of the pandemic and they have had to ask the Government for bail out funds. 


·         Conditions of the bail out included changes to freedom pass use in peak hours and the proposed suspension of free travel for some young people.  Discussions with the Government were continuing on the provision of free travel for young people with any changes still requiring funding. 

·         Local Implementation Plans have had to be suspended, but other schemes have been bought forward to help with the recovery.  In August £20m was made available for projects such as low traffic neighbourhoods and the development of strategic cycle routes.


·         Usage figures for the tube had reduced from 6.7m journeys per day before the lock down, to 300,000 during the lockdown to 2.2m in the week preceding the meeting.  For the Overground the figures were pre lock down 1.3m journeys to 150,000 to 700,000. 


·         Transport for London were now running 97% of services on the tube, 98% on the buses and 86% on the Overground and Docklands Light Railway. 


Dominic Millen spoke about the impact, specifically on Enfield. 


·         Discretionary funding had been replaced by bidding for funding to deliver specific projects.


·         The Council had had to implement a 12 month programme in 5 months, which had been challenging.


·         Measures to encourage safe movement have been implemented, as well as work on longer programmes to encourage walking and cycling.  This would have the benefit of reducing traffic levels.   


2.            Questions/Comments on the Presentation


1.            Funding for the “Let’s Talk Enfield” Scheme was unaffected.


2.            Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and School Street schemes would be going out to consultation.  There was no clawback mechanism if the schemes were changed. 


3.            The message that travelling on public transport was safe was being heavily promoted.  It was important to keep persuading people to travel by public transport rather than to use their cars.


4.            It was felt that more needed to be done to maintain existing cycle routes, such as the lane on Mollison Avenue which is currently very overgrown.  Dominic Millen agreed to ask highways to inspect. 


5.            It was felt that more should be done to enforce the wearing of face masks on public transport.  Enforcement activity had increased, but there was always room for improvement. 


6.            Work was being carried out on developing a badge for people to wear if they could not wear masks for legitimate reasons.  It would be downloadable. 


The Chair thanked the officers for the presentation and summed up, saying that it had been very useful.  She felt that it was essential to restore confidence in public transport to reduce traffic emissions and to help avoid another spike in infection. 


Encouraging the wearing of masks and making sure that those who could not wear them were easily identifiable was very important to instil confidence. 


Officers would raise the problem of overgrown vegetation along Mollison Avenue with the relevant department. 


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