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  1. ITV Report

Transport services in South reduced as passenger numbers plummet amid coronavirus

Public transport operators in the South have started slashing services due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Train companies in the region could be taken over by the government, amid a collapse in demand.

Credit: PA Images

Passenger numbers have decreased following advice from the government for commuters to work from home and avoid non-essential travel.

Train lines from airports like Heathrow and Gatwick are so quiet, operators are considering cutting back services.

3/4
of trains to London have been empty on some routes

South Western Railway is having to cancel trains at short notice because it hasn't got enough staff to run a full timetable.

In a statement the company said: "Like most organisations, we’re seeing more staff having to stay at home unwell. That means we’re having to cancel a small number of trains at very short notice. We are trying to avoid this wherever possible, and apologise for any inconvenience it causes and hope you understand."

"Our colleagues and teams on the frontline are working hard to run services, and help our passengers who can’t stay at home, get where they need to be, when they need to be there."

– South Western Railway

Other train companies like Great Western Railway, Southern, Thameslink, the Gatwick Express and Southeastern say they will continue to run a full service for as long as they can.

Staff have stepped up the cleaning of hard surfaces across Southern and Thameslink networks, in order to try and protect against coronavirus.

Meanwhile, there has been a shutdown of air travel into Gatwick airport, as borders across Europe and America close to UK flights.

Bus companies across the Meridian region have experienced a decrease in passengers.

Reading Buses, which operate across Berkshire will run a reduced Saturday service, from Monday.

Bus services in Bournemouth will also be cut.

Kent and East Sussex county councils announced they will let older people use their free bus passes all day so they can get to supermarkets early.

Normally, elderly passengers are not allowed to use their free passes on the buses until 9:30am.

  • Robert Williams, CEO Reading Buses

Taxi companies have also seen a reduction in passengers since the government advice to stay at home came into force.

Business for one company in the south is reportedly down 65%.

Drivers have been asked to frequently disinfect and wipe down seats and door handles in order to prevent the potential spread of coronavirus.

  • Kelly Stevens, Capital Cars
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