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Teenagers wearing face masks on the London Underground (file photo) RMV via ZUMA Press/PA Images

Boris Johnson calls for 'proper marshalling' at train stations to stop crowding on public transport

Ministers have defended the easing of lockdown restrictions in England amid signs of confusion.

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER Boris Johnson said he wants to see “proper marshalling” at train stations to prevent overcrowding on public transport.

Ministers in the UK have defended the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England amid signs of confusion and anger over the new rules.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps insisted the Government is taking a “common sense” approach, gradually easing the restrictions as the outbreak is brought under control.

But with ministers encouraging employees to return to work where possible, he urged people not to “flood back” on to public transport, warning that the system will not be able to cope.

Changes – which have not been adopted by the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – mean people are now allowed to take unlimited outdoor exercise and to sunbathe in parks and public places.

They will also be able to meet one other person from another household in a public space, as long as the two-metre rule is respected, while golf clubs, tennis courts and angling have also been given the green light.

Restrictions on how far people can travel to get to the countryside, national parks and beaches in England have also been lifted, but people have been warned to respect local communities, keep their distance from others and avoid hot spots or busy areas.

However, images on social media have shown people crowding on public transport in London since the restrictions were lifted this week. 

Speaking in the House of Commons today, Johnson said the British government was discouraging people from using transport at peak hours to avoid overcrowding.

“I don’t want to see crowding on mass public transport in our capital or anywhere else and we’re working very actively with Transport for London [TFL] to ensure that what we do is we have more capacity,” he said.

“We discourage people from going to work during the peak and that the operators, in particular TFL, lay on particularly more Tube trains when those are necessary throughout the day.

“And a huge amount of work is being done and we also want to see proper marshalling at stations to prevent crowding of trains.”

Earlier, Grant Shapps said that people should continue to avoid public transport except for essential journeys.

“We are asking people to be very sensible and not flood back to public transport. Even with all the trains and buses back to running when they are, there will not be enough space. One in 10 people will be able to travel without overcrowding,” he told Sky News.

“It is very important that we enable enough space on public transport for key workers, people who have no other option.

“It is very important that people don’t overcrowd that system that will be extremely restricted for the time being.” 

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