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Trains will be cut back as commuter numbers fall

Unprecedented: London’s normally packed Charing Cross station yesterday PICTURE: REX

PUBLIC transport around London could be cut as demand from stay-at-home commuters dwindles, bosses said yesterday.

Transport for London said it would not force passengers off the network but passenger numbers were down 19 per cent on Underground trains and ten per cent on buses compared with this time last year — at a cost of £500million in lost revenue.

‘We and our staff are doing everything we can to ensure that people who need to make essential journeys can continue to do so,’ it said.

‘Part of that involves matching service levels to the actual demand for travel. That work is under way and will evolve over time.’ Meanwhile, it is rumoured several train operators are on the brink of being brought under government control as they also struggle with a slump in passengers caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.

The government took control of Northern trains earlier this year after widespread delays and there have been warnings about the future of South Western Railway.

On Tuesday, transport minister Grant Shapps said some organisations could be temporarily nationalised and good organisations ‘shouldn’t be going bust’ as a result of the pandemic.

The Rail Delivery Group said it is in talks about continuing to provide a vital service. ‘These are unprecedented times,’ it added.