The UK’s train operators will begin a significant reduction of services on Monday.
The Department for Transport (DfT) today announced it had agreed a plan with the rail industry that would “see a gradual reduction in train services across the country to reflect lower passenger demand, while keeping vital rail services running.”
The government has advised all British people to practice “social distancing”, which includes avoiding non-essential use of public transport, to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
“Core” rail services will be run to allow people to get to work and travel to medical appointments.
Services will be reduced from Monday March 23, with the level kept under review.
The FT reports that industry figures have privately indicated it will mean half the usual number of trains running each day.
Operators have been told to provide “clear communications to ensure passengers who need to travel are well-informed of the changes.”
The DfT said there will be a gradual move towards introducing reduced service levels on wide parts of the network over the longer term, but these will be reduced progressively across the network over the coming days to minimise disruption.
It will apply to rail services in England, Scotland and Wales.
Freight services will continue.
Yesterday Transport for London closed 40 underground stations that do not interchange with other lines, while the Waterloo and City Line closes entirely today.