Why the end of WFH means overcrowding for Londoners heading back to the office

Commuters heading into London on a packed train as London's mayor described the service on some lines as 'poor'

Politicians and business leaders have called on rail companies to increase the number of commuter trains as London emerges from the Covid pandemic.

Mayor Sadiq Khan described the service from some train operators as 'poor'.

Passengers on key routes into the capital have complained of overcrowding and fewer trains per hour.

Services were cut at the start of the Covid outbreak in March 2020 and again when 'Plan B' restrictions were introduced in December.

The train companies have seen a significant fall in income from fares, despite the post-Omicron return to work.

Lib Dem transport spokesperson Sarah Olney MP - who commutes from her Richmond constituency - said she feared South Western Railway would continue operating a reduced service.

"What I'm really concerned about is that we start to see services return to the level we had before the pandemic," said Sarah Olney MP.

She added: "For me it's really important we have a sustainable train service, that services are available when people need them and that people are encouraged to use the trains instead of their car."

London mayor Sadiq Khan said businesses felt frustrated by the "poor service" from train companies outside London, adding: "What then happens is people prefer to work from home."

A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group which represents train operators, added: "The pandemic has changed the way people travel, and we are running services that meet customer demand and increasing the number of trains in a responsible way, while at the same time making sure that we don’t take more than our fair share from taxpayers.

"There are some pinch points across the rail network and we are closely monitoring timetables to run services which fit changed travel patterns."