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Transport for London is offering the first free trip to lure Londoners back to the city center


Transport bosses are considering offering Londoners a free trip to the capital to help boost the economy.

The First Ride Free program is being considered by Transport for London (TfL) to show the public that it is safe to enjoy the center of the capital.

It's considered the public travel equivalent of the Eat Out to Help Out initiative, which launched nationwide in August.

Transport bosses are considering offering Londoners a free trip to the capital to help boost the economy

The Evening Standard said the program could offer free tickets to trains, buses and the tube to people who have not ridden to central London since the coronavirus pandemic.

It is believed that nervousness about using public transport is one of the main factors deterring people from traveling to central London for work or leisure.

The transport network saw a huge drop in passenger numbers as the public was advised to stay at home during the early stages of the lockdown.

But the loosening of the rules has since resulted in some returning to the office and taking public transport to town.

A TfL spokesperson said: “This is one of several options that are being considered to encourage people to return to central London in the coming months.

“No final decisions have been made and any option would have to be made with government support and agreed with them as part of the ongoing discussions about our finances.

& # 39; Now more customers are returning to public transport and we are seeing steady growth every day.

"We are delivering near-full subway, bus and rail service and the network is cleaner than ever."

Paul Scully, Secretary of State for London, said: "I am examining all possibilities to show people instead of just telling them that a warm and very safe welcome awaits them when they return to the center of our great city."

The program could offer free tickets to trains, buses and the Tube to people who have not traveled to central London since the coronavirus pandemic

The program could offer free tickets to trains, buses and the Tube to people who have not traveled to central London since the coronavirus pandemic

According to TfL, 630,000 passengers used the London Underground network on Friday from the start of service until 10 a.m. – 21.1% more than in the same period last week.

However, this was still 69.2% less than in the same period last year.

There were 800,000 bus trips – an increase of 29.6% from last week but a decrease of 50.8% from 2019.

Eat Out to Help Out was heralded as a success by Chancellor Rishi Sunak after the British ate more than 100 million meals as part of the rebate last month, with claims costing more than £ 500 million.

Ghost Town Britain: Soulless streets, empty stations and abandoned offices … how Britons ignore Boris & # 39; return to work (but happy to go out to dinner to help)

From Mark Duell

Office buildings, streets and train stations across the UK were soulless and empty today as the British continued to ignore Boris Johnson's efforts to get them back to the office after the coronavirus lockdown.

Hardly any pedestrians were seen in the city centers during rush hour today, although traffic jams in London started to worsen with 820 congestion over 335 miles in the capital today as the school run continued to return.

TomTom data showed that the capital's congestion at 8 a.m. today was 47 percent – an increase of 41 percent at the same time yesterday and 26 percent last week, although it is still well below the 2019 average of 65 Percent lay.

Commuters in London Waterloo this morning which seems mostly empty despite being the UK's busiest train station

Commuters in London Waterloo this morning which seems mostly empty despite being the UK's busiest train station

But the number of people on the London Underground has still fallen 70 percent over the past year, and buses in the capital run half their usual number as people continue to avoid public transport.

According to TfL, 650,000 passengers used the subway network today from the start of service until 10 a.m. This was 17.2 percent more than in the same period last week, but still 70.6 percent less than in the same period last year.

760,000 bus trips were made, an increase of 22.2 percent from last week but a decrease of 54.3 percent from 2019.

A small number of commuters can be seen at London Waterloo Station this morning as people continue to work from home

A small number of commuters can be seen at London Waterloo Station this morning as people continue to work from home

Traffic has increased thanks in part to the school's return this week, despite the postponement of the first broadcast date on a public information campaign urging people to get back to work after the Covid-19 lockdown.

More chaos for London? Sadiq Khan enjoys a day trip with NHS and TfL staff to Wimbledon to thank them for their help with the Covid pandemic

Sadiq Khan said today it was "really offensive" to claim that people who work from home are not as productive as those in an office during the coronavirus pandemic, calling on the government to address the crisis To get a grip.

The Mayor of London made the comments while a group of 80 key workers were invited to play tennis at Wimbledon to thank them for their work during the height of the pandemic.

Photos and videos showed the 49-year-old mayor slapping his forehead and backhand on a grass pitch this morning and solemnly posing for the camera while playing with the group.

It comes from the fact that he's faced heavy criticism for his handling of the Covid-19 crisis – including major concerns about his anti-car strategy. Motorists are demanding that traffic restrictions be imposed as part of the pandemic.

He was also convicted for reducing tube services, increasing the congestion charge and presiding over perceived structural flaws at Transport for London, which received a government bailout of £ 1.6 billion.

Speaking at the All England Lawn Tennis Club this morning, Mr Khan criticized recent suggestions that employees should stop working from home and return to their offices to be productive.

Mr. Khan said, “The Londoners who worked from home worked. I find it really insulting to say that those who work from home didn't work, they were kind of lazy – that's not the case.

"They have followed advice to avoid the virus spreading, work from home where possible, and avoid public transport, especially during rush hour."

Downing Street has denied the existence of a government "back to work" campaign, but said employers should be reminded of how to make workplaces Covid-proof in order to increase the number of offices.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics suggest that more people have been traveling to work in the past two months, with fewer working exclusively from home.

The series of ads encouraging people to return to offices was originally supposed to start tomorrow but won't start until next week at the earliest. A slogan remains to be given to the UK campaign as Downing Street officials still disagree on how strong the encouragement should be.

However, the news was more positive when the decline in UK retail visitor numbers subsided for the third straight year in August as Springboard said that the Eat Out to Help Out program “attracted” visitors to the shopping areas.

The move suggests that the cabinet wanted to get more officials back to their desks before asking the rest of the country to return, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Mr Johnson is said to want Parliament to be "back to normal" by the end of 2020 and to urge MPs to lead from the beginning when they return to work.

Mr Johnson spoke to conservative backers about the importance of getting back to work if the UK seeks a balance between public and economic health.

Downing Street fears huge job losses in shops and cafes in the city and downtown if workers don't return to their pre-lockdown commuting patterns.

However, there is alleged disagreement within the government over whether the time is right, as the Covid-19 rate is still rising in parts of the UK to get employees back to work.

Yesterday, the Bank of England told MPs that the government's Covid-safe guidelines for employers meant the offices were unlikely to return to full capacity.

This is due to the need to keep staff separate, including advice in the workplace, including the introduction of one-way systems and staggered shift times.

Employers are also advised to limit the number of colleagues employees are exposed to to prevent the virus from spreading.

Alex Brazier, the bank's executive director for risk, told the Commons Treasury Committee: “Because of these limitations, we cannot expect many people to suddenly and sharply return to the very dense office environments in which we have been working.

"We should expect a gradual return, depending on the public health results we see in the weeks and months ahead."

In the meantime, major street chains have jointly called for help, warning that working from home has created an "economic emergency".

In a joint letter to the prime minister, the bosses said the failure to bring employees back to the office posed an "existential" threat to many companies.

The letter seen by the Mail was signed by more than 80 senior executives, including the heads of Greene King, Pizza Express, Caffe Nero and Marriott Hotels.

It was organized by the managing director of UK Hospitality, which represents 700 companies and 3 million workers.

Their efforts were supported by the British Retail Consortium, which represents 5,000 companies. The signatories employ nearly half a million people.

Her letter sent to Boris Johnson earlier this week stated: “Before Covid, half a million workers came to central London every day, but many companies have no immediate plans for employees to return to their offices.

An almost empty platform at Canary Wharf underground station in London this morning

An almost empty platform at Canary Wharf underground station in London this morning

A person walks past Canary Wharf tube station in East London this morning

A person walks past Canary Wharf tube station in East London this morning

& # 39; This poses existential risks for hospitality companies and their supply chain, as well as retail, leisure and entertainment businesses, which together employ around 20 percent of Londoners.

"Measures to raise public confidence to levels that will trigger a return to safe travel to central London have become a social and economic emergency. Residents and workers need to be convinced that public transport is safe and that their jobs are safe. "

The letter also warned of the devastating effects of a collapse in tourism. It called for a blizzard of promotions and campaigns to get the message across that Britain is "open to business, safe and welcoming".

Passengers wear face masks when traveling on the Jubilee Line in London during rush hour today

Passengers wear face masks when traveling on the Jubilee Line in London during rush hour today

A small number of people this morning in Reuters Plaza on Canary Wharf in East London

A small number of people this morning in Reuters Plaza on Canary Wharf in East London

Official data shows that 730,000 jobs have been lost since the UK's coronavirus crisis in March. Some predictions suggest that unemployment could rise as high as 3.5 million by Christmas when the vacation program comes to an end.

The Prime Minister claimed earlier this week that "many" are returning to their offices after schools reopened Tuesday.

But pictures of train and subway stations seemed to suggest something else. Companies in the capital expect that only one in seven companies will bring the majority of their employees back to the office by the end of September.

According to Wireless Social, visitor numbers to the financial centers of Canary Wharf and the City of London are down more than 60 percent compared to February. The number of rail passengers remains below a third of the pre-lockdown level, despite an increase in the number of services offered to commuters.

A small number of commuters walk past a South Western Railway at London Waterloo station this morning

A small number of commuters walk past a South Western Railway at London Waterloo station this morning

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