More disruption on the way as staff self isolate

Watch: Video report by ITV News Meridian's Sally Simmonds

The effects of the so called 'pingdemic' are growing as more staff are being told to self isolate.

Today the operators of Thameslink and Southern Railway announced a reduced weekday timetable will be introduced from next Monday on five routes.

Like so many other companies across the south, Thameslink and Southern have seen a significant rise in colleagues needing to isolate in recent weeks.

That means that there are fewer fewer colleagues available to operate services at present.

Which routes are affected:

The Thameslink routes affected are:

  • Between Sutton and St Albans City via Wimbledon and via Hackbridge

  • Between Gatwick Airport and Bedford

The Southern routes affected are:

  • Between Clapham Junction and Watford Junction/Milton Keynes

  • Between Beckenham Junction and London Bridge via Dulwich

  • Between London Bridge and Caterham/Tattenham Corner

Steve White, Chief Operating Officer for Govia Thameslink Railway which operates Thameslink and Southern, said: “Regrettably, we have had to make the difficult decision to reduce some weekday services.

“Unfortunately, like other industries across the country, coronavirus continues to affect our operations. We have fewer colleagues available at the moment due to a significant increase recently in the number of our people affected by Covid-19.

Great Western Railway meanwhile has announced it is removing twenty trains from service each day.

Watch - Dan Panes, GWR:

The RMT Union which represents many railway workers says it is concerned about the current situation and fears the impact from the the staff shortages could get worse.

Watch - Mick Lynch, RMT:

Meanwhile, food and garden waste collections have been suspended in West Berkshire due to HGV driver shortages - and the Vale of White Horse District Council has warned residents that bin collections could be disrupted as it faces a similar issue. 

Fuel disruption

More knock on effects of the lorry driver are also emerging.

BP says it is experiencing fuel supply issues at some of its forecourts, with a handful of sites having to close because of a lack of both unleaded and diesel.

The company says this because of ongoing UK-wide shortage of qualified drivers, and delays caused by the temporary closure of a fuel distribution terminal because of staff isolations.

A spokesperson for the company said: “We are experiencing some fuel supply issues at some of our retail sites in the UK and unfortunately have therefore seen a handful of sites temporarily close due to a lack of both unleaded and diesel grades."

"We are working hard with our haulier supplier to deliver fuel into sites and minimise any disruption to our customers. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

But the Petrol Retailers Association says there's no need to panic buy at the pumps.

Watch - Gordon Balmer, Petrol Retailers' Association: