London rush hour commute returns for some as Plan B Covid restrictions are eased

Tap above to watch video report by Carolyn Sim

There were some signs of life returning to normal on Thursday following the government's decision to ease Covid restrictions in England.

Traffic levels were up on London's roads and figures showed more people were travelling by Tube.

The Prime Minister told MPs in the Commons on Wednesday that work from home guidance would be dropped immediately and rules on face coverings in classrooms would also be scrapped in England from Thursday.

Other measures including the requirement to wear face masks on public transport and in shops will end next Thursday.

Tech firm TomTom said road congestion levels – which represent the proportion of additional time required for journeys compared with free-flow conditions – were at 72% in London. The figure is up from 66% in the capital a week earlier.

Transport for London said 1.09 million entries and exits were recorded on the Tube network up to 10am on Thursday, an 8% increase on the same period last week.

Demand for buses was up 3% week-on-week, with 1.19 million journeys up to 10am, TfL said.

Commuters on London Bridge make their way into offices

The number of commuters is likely to be affected by train firms operating emergency timetables due to staff shortages, and the 17-week closure of a stretch of the Tube’s Northern line between Moorgate and Kennington.

Despite the easing of restrictions face masks will remain compulsory on Tube and bus services in London as mayor Sadiq Khan makes them a ‘condition of carriage’.

But from next Thursday, as the Covid guidance changes, refusal to wear a mask will no longer be a matter for police.

Instead TfL enforcement officers will continue to give out masks and remind people to use one.