Commuters and unions have called on the Government to act, as they faced busy Underground trains at peak hours today.

Angry passengers shared pictures of cramped carriages – which make social distancing for coronavirus impossible.

Tube use has fallen since the Government announced social distancing measures last week.

There were already 19 per cent fewer passengers on the Underground, and 10 per cent less on buses last Monday, as cautious Londoners avoided public transport.

And by Friday, with new Government guidance on social distancing in place, Tube ridership was down 70 per cent, and bus use had dropped 40 per cent on last year.

But Transport for London (TfL) has now reduced the frequency of services to around 15 trains an hour on all lines at peak times.

Photographs show that on some trains, conditions were cramped this morning – making social distancing impossible, and putting workers at greater risk of infection.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: All seats were taken on Victoria Line trains this morning.All seats were taken on Victoria Line trains this morning.

Chris Deeley, a research technician at an NHS hospital lab, commuted from Bethnal Green to South Kensington on the Central and District lines today.

He said his train was similar to a normal commuting day – and “definitely” busier than last week since services have been cut.

He said: “Either people are still attending non-essential jobs or they have underestimated the number of people who still need to use the tube to get to work.

“Either way though, it was a pretty unpleasant experience this morning and is putting people at unnecessary risk – particularly considering NHS workers aren’t being tested.”

David Punt, a security guard for Lloyds Bank, commuted from Arnos Grove to Holborn on the Piccadilly line before peak hours this morning.

He said his Tube was quiet – but believes more people need to follow Government advice, to ensure all workers relying on public transport stay safe.

He said: “Usually it’s fairly busy on my Tube, especially when at Finsbury Park – but nobody got on.

“There are people that are following what to do, but there are still too many people out and about and still a lot of people that need to keep a distance and they aren’t taking it seriously.”

Mr Punt said he was particularly worried because his sister is in a vulnerable group for the virus, and has Downs Syndrome.

He said: “I believe a lockdown needs to happen now – not later or in a week or two.

“I am proud to be British but I cannot believe the amount of selfishness there is – it’s shameful really.”

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: The Piccadilly Line was quiet before the morning peak (Photo: David Punt).The Piccadilly Line was quiet before the morning peak (Photo: David Punt).

But a woman working at a London estate agent, who asked not to be named, said she has no choice but to keep coming to work.

The Government has only advised businesses to shut their offices – so she can’t work from home until her employer gives permission.

She took the Northern line from Tooting Broadway to Angel this morning, and said trains were still mostly full.

She said: “People were making faces when our train pulled up because I’m sure they didn’t think it would be that busy.

“I honestly can’t believe we still have to come in and do a full day’s at work with how quiet it is in Islington.

“People are cancelling appointments. We are just in here looking lost and twiddling our thumbs.”

Unions today warned of the risk to Tube workers if services remain busy.

ASLEF union representative Finn Brennan said he was being sent pictures of “crush loaded platforms” at some Jubilee line stations by “furious” train drivers this morning.

Writing on Twitter, he said: “This is endangering the health of the vital workers who have to use the system.

“The Government must act now to ensure only essential journeys are made.”

RMT union general secretary Mick Cash said there was “enormous personal pressure” on Tube staff.

He said: “The only people using our transport services should be essential workers who have to travel.

“Everyone else should stay away to protect themselves, the staff and the wider community.”

A spokesperson for TfL admitted that “at some times, some services are busier than we would like them to be”.

But he said providing Tube services was “something of a Catch 22”.

Running more trains could make the public more relaxed about travelling, but fewer trains provide less capacity for key workers to keep a distance from others, he said.

He said reducing trains was important to “build in some resilience” in case train drivers and other staff are off sick with the virus.

He said those who have to should travel “even a little outside peak times” if possible, as trains could be much quieter.

The Government is advising everyone to practice social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and says those most at risk from the disease should self-isolate. You can find the latest guidance here. Advice on the virus from Public Health England is available here.