Commuters could be made to book slots at train stations using smartphone app to stop overcrowding

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Rail commuters could be made to book slots at train stations using a smartphone app in bid to stop overcrowding after lockdown is lifted

  • Commuters could be given allotted time to travel through railway stations
  • Industry source claims passengers could be restricted by their smart cards 
  • Social distancing rules could reduce Tube passengers by 15%, BBC reports 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Commuting as coronavirus lockdown measures start to lift could see passengers booking allotted travel times and being restricted to them by their smart phones.

Passenger numbers are expected to fall by up to 15% on London‘s Underground, if commuters stick to proper social distancing measures, the BBC reported earlier this week.

Today The Telegraph suggested train companies are considering building an app to see how many people will travel through stations at any given time. 

Commuters are still using public transport including the Northern Line in London, but there is a lot more space compared to passenger numbers before the coronavirus lockdown

A source told the paper passengers could book times to travel and their smart cards would only work at turnstiles during those hours. The industry source added the idea was ‘some way off’.  

They added: ‘It’s certainly something could be considered. The problem is how actually police it – there are still a lot of questions around that.

‘Connecting slots to smart passes is one idea, but that is limited to people that use them. There will be others who struggle with the technology.’

According to a survey by Systra quoted by the BBC, rail use could drop by 27% post lockdown, as people opt to work from home.

Prof Tony Travers from the London School of Economics told the BBC many people may switch to cycling into work, changing the face of the daily commute.

Speaking on potentially staggering commuter times, Prof Travers told the news website: ‘Public transport operators have spent decades trying to get users to spread the rush hour.

‘It would be hard to do this voluntarily. You would have to have some degree of people, in effect, being allocated slots.’ 

Rail workers’ union RMT has warned the government faces a ‘huge logistical and staffing input’ to manage public transport post lockdown. 

Smart passes such as the Oyster Card or contactless bank cards could restrict passengers travelling outside of times they have already booked

Smart passes such as the Oyster Card or contactless bank cards could restrict passengers travelling outside of times they have already booked

General Secretary Mick Cash said; ‘There is a headlong dash to lift the lockdown on our transport services for the 18th May and it is fraught with danger for both passengers and staff alike.

‘To maintain the Governments own social distancing guidance would mean huge logistical and staffing input to ‎manage passenger flows onto trains and it is imperative that all staff involved in this process are properly protected.

‘RMT will not compromise on the health, safety and livelihoods of our members and we will not agree to anything that fails to put the safety of staff and passengers first. 

‘If that means advising our members not to work under conditions that are unsafe and in breach of the government’s own guidelines then that is exactly what we will do.’

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