Construction companies in London are being asked to postpone start times or encourage workers to use various modes of transport after ministers sounded the alarm this week over images of overcrowding on underground trains to warn builders that during the morning peak may be banned from parts of the network.
Co-chair of the Joint Industry and Government Construction Leadership Council Andy Mitchell has written to construction companies asking them to reconsider how they get workers to sites, especially those traveling from east London and beyond.
Mitchell’s letter also stated that there was a “very real risk” that ministers could impose restrictions if the situation did not improve.
In yesterday’s letter seen by Housing Today’s sister publication Building, Mitchell said, “There is significant overcrowding, especially on the Jubilee line, which has become unacceptable. Please spread this message and take urgent action. “
Mitchell said Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps is urging workers not to use the network east of London between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m.
He said, “It is evident that overcrowding is a significant figure in our industry.”
Any travel restrictions on construction workers would take a few weeks, Mitchell said, adding, “It is important that alternative modes of transport or travel times be used outside of this specific time.”
The anniversary line was particularly preoccupied with images yesterday showing overcrowding at Canning Town station – reminiscent of scenes last spring during the initial lockdown, when images of overcrowded subways made headlines across the country.
The route is also served by National Rail and London Overground stations in east London such as Stratford and Canada Water as well as the DLR in Canning Town.
RMT Rail Union’s John Leach told the BBC that “there are serious problems every morning, basically when construction workers come in early”.
He added, “It’s really a big question for the government to get everyone to work on these building sites in central London right now.”
Mitchell’s warning comes just days after the new business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng wrote an open letter to the industry stating it was safe to keep working and explain why websites remain open.
In his letter on Monday, he wrote, “If it is important to travel or stay in a shelter, whether you want to come to work or do your job, industry representatives can.”
TfL said the overcrowding in Canning Town yesterday was due to three trains being canceled on short notice.