Thursday, August 04, 2005

London - 30% fall in tube passengers

The reaction to the London attacks is beginning to filter through after figures are released. Passenger numbers are down 30% on the London Underground network at weekends. The weekday numbers are also down between 5 and 15% according to a TfL spokesman. The attacks closed several lines accounting for some 10% of the network. And a massive police presence seems to be doing little to raise confidence. Most of those avoiding the tube are daytrippers and those that otherwise have no need of travelling into or around London. The radio talk shows receive dozens of calls from those concerned enough either not to travel into London or to only use taxis. But one taxi driver, who texted BBC LDN tonight, expressed his desire to ‘get out’ of London.
On Thursday morning the Piccadilly line came back online. Fifteen stations were put out of action after the attack at Kings Cross closed the Piccadilly line. All lines are now up and running, though the East London line was affected late Thursday afternoon by what TfL described as a ‘customer incident’.
But it doesn’t take much to make London all jittery. An engine fire on a London bus on Tuesday [15:30 BST] was enough to send commuters fleeing and emergency services calling a ‘full emergency’. Rolling news was interrupted to bring the viewer LIVE coverage of the Breaking News. CNN broke the ‘news’ using an ITV News feed. Sky too broke the news and eventually brought a Live traffic camera image to viewers. Within the hour it was clear what the incident was. The debate on CNN then shifted to the ‘nervous London’ angle.
Interest in First Aid courses and the purchase of first aid kits has risen significantly since the attacks. Some product manufacturers accused of capitalising on the events of 7/7. But whereas some have sold products to make profit from the attacks, others have been attempting to ‘scam’ the unsuspecting recipients of an e-mail. The unsolicited e-mail has been targeted to thousand of addresses and urges the recipient to respond with their bank details in order to claim a part of the estate of one of the bomb victims. The message claims to have been sent by a London bank and claims the recipient has been identified as the next of kin to Giles Hart, a British Telecom engineer who was killed in the 7/7 bus bomb. The 419 scam, named after the Nigerian penal code relevant to the crime, and from where many scams originate, was identified by spam researchers at Sophos Labs in the UK. Sophos is one of the leading anti-virus security firms.
[18:57 04/08/2005]

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