More confidence in public transport is essential, says City of London’s McGuinness
LONDON (UK) – Financial industry representatives said workers in London need to have greater confidence that using the public transport system is safe before they return to their offices.
Before the coronavirus pandemic brought the city to a standstill, more than 80% of workers in London’s financial heartland used public transport to travel to work. However, the capacity is now severely restricrted.
With many bank employees, insurers and asset managers working from home since March, there are concerns among regulators about its potential risks.
Regulators and employers find it hard to check if staff are not using private phones or email to contact clients.
Although some employees have started returning to otherwise deserted offices in high-rise buildings, there has been no rush ever since the curbs were slowly relaxed in England.
“People are not worried about the office, they are worried about how they are going to get there,” said Shobi Khan, chief executive of Canary Wharf Group that runs the financial district.
“There is no problem going to Spain, Italy or France, but heaven forbid you go to the office,” Khan said, adding that the official line is work from home and stay off public transport.
More confidence in public transport was essential, said Catherine McGuinness, political leader of the City of London that runs the financial district known as the Square Mile.
“We need more clarity on the advice we are receiving,” McGuinness said, adding that she expects more people to return in September and gradully increase.
“There is a big push from a lot of corporates to have another flow of workers come back in September to see how that works and then each business will decide what that right level is,” Khan said.
While easing the social distancing norm from two metres to one metre allows the Tube to take more people, it was still limited to 208 people, said Ron Kalifa, board member of Transport for London.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field