LU have today announced via a bulletin that, from 17 May, they will be reverting back to pre-pandemic duty schedules on trains. This is clearly part of a wider plan to ramp the service back up from 18 May, as part of an anticipated easing of lockdown measures.
The announcement says: "We have [...] been reviewing the level of train service that will be needed across our network as lockdown restrictions are eased. What have decided to revert back to the pre-COVID-19 duty schedules which will come into effect on 17 May while we continue to plan a resumption to service once the restrictions are lifted or eased."
Readers will recall that union pressure succeeded in resisting the imposition of emergency timetables, that unions felt would've exposed workers to additional risk. Today's announcement represents confirmation that those emergency timetables have been comprehensively abandoned. In and of itself, that's a positive, but the announcement can't be abstracted from the immediate context of a prospective ramping up of the service in conditions that aren't necessarily safe.
All rail unions have taken a common national position that no service increase should take place until comprehensive safety measures, validated and overseen by union reps, are in place to keep staff safe, with no moving away from the 2m distancing guidance., which we know TfL is pushing to reduce.
On LU, measures could, in our view, involve implementing queuing and one-way systems around stations to regulate passenger flow; compulsory hand-washing stations at entrances to stations; compulsory wearing of masks; keeping reduced hours rosters in place to minimise the number of workers who need to be in the workplaces; turn off all POMs to make entry Oyster and contactless only, with Wide Aisle Gates kept open.