Sadiq Khan has reached out to commuters who are refusing to stay at home following the deaths of five London bus workers who tested positive for COVID-19.
The mayor of the capital said he was ‘absolutely devastated’ following the coronavirus deaths.
He tweeted a statement saying that ‘lives depend’ on people following Government rules to stay at home unless travel is essential.
Meanwhile, trade union Unite said the deaths were a ‘terrible tragedy’.
Mr. Khan said: ‘I have been clear that our incredible public transport staff – on the buses, tubes, trams, and trains – are critical workers, making a heroic effort to allow our NHS staff to save more lives.
‘But we need to play our part too and that means fewer Londoners using the public transport network.
‘Please follow the rules. Stay at home and do not use public transport unless it is absolutely unavoidable.’
However, Khan has come under fire for axing many train and bus services and effectively forcing commuters to cram in together.
During a press briefing last week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘When it comes to the Tube, the first and the best answer is that Transport for London should have the Tube running in full so that people travelling are spaced out and can be further apart, obeying the two-metre rule wherever possible.
‘And there is no good reason in the information that I’ve seen that the current levels of Tube provision should be as low as they are. We should have more Tube trains running.’
Earlier that day, commuters packed in as sardines hit back at the Mayor, with one victim claiming it was about saving money, tweeting: ‘Using the pandemic to save a few pennies. Nice work helping the people you claim to represent’.
Another Londoner wrote: ‘Utter disgrace. We need professional leadership at this time’.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also told Mr. Khan to get more trains running and Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, said he had requested measures to ensure the safety of those who need to use the London Underground.
Transport union TSSA has called for police to be deployed at major train stations in London – including London Underground, London Overground and mainline railway stations – to ensure only passengers who are ‘providing vital services’ are travelling.
Aslef union organiser Finn Brennan wrote: ‘Getting lots of reports of early trains being full on the Underground. If the Government doesn’t shut construction sites and pay self employment, people will die’.
Unite regional secretary Peter Kavanagh said: ‘Unite will assist the families of our members in every possible way during this terrible time.