Transport for London sets out ‘School Service’ bus plans for autumn term

Transport for London sets out ‘School Service’ bus plans for autumn term

Up to half the buses running on some of the capital’s bus routes will be reserved for school children during mornings and early afternoons from next Tuesday, as Transport for London seeks to facilitate the full re-opening of schools for the new autumn term.

Some regular services on high-frequency routes will be re-designated “School Service” buses, and be allowed to operate at full capacity under relaxed social distancing rules, but with all children required to wear face coverings while on board.

In addition, at least 230 extra buses will be deployed to some of the busier lower frequency routes used by large numbers of children.

TfL says the changes, which will affect “large parts of the bus network”, will also assist the expected growing number of workers returning to offices and other workplaces as the pandemic lockdown continues to ease in the capital by freeing up more space on non-School Service buses.

Buses will carry yellow-green signs to signal School Service designation or “Non-school service” ones, asking school children to wait for the next School Service bus. School Service buses will operate between 7.30 and 9.30 in the morning and 2:30 and 4:30 in the afternoons only.

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TfL is also encouraging parents, students and school staff to “walk, cycle or scoot” to school whenever they can as an alternative to using buses, which would release some pressure on capacity. Before the pandemic around 250,000 London schoolchildren used London’s buses every day to get to and from school.

The transport body also underlines that free travel for under-18s will continue for the time being and notes in its press statement about the bus service changes that a start date for the concession’s temporary suspension “requested by the government in the funding agreement between them and TfL has not yet been confirmed”.

Earlier this month, On London reported that a Department for Transport minister had told TfL in a letter, “we would like” the temporary suspension to be implemented from “immediately after October half-term”. The letter appeared to acknowledge that there are practical difficulties with removing the free travel arrangement, which Sadiq Khan and others have been campaigning to have dropped on the grounds that it will penalise poorer families.

Further information from TfL on the School Service bus route plans here.

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Categories: News

3 Comments

  1. Gajjar says:

    There is no proper information to public given as school bus is only for school kids, but some parents comes in school bus with their kids , which they have to wait for non school bus, school bus is only for school kids no parents allowed with kids to come in school bus, can you please let me know as a bus drive do I pick parents as well or I don’t because according to my knowledge I should not pick parents with their kids in school bus , has to be kids only age 11 +,please let me know ASAP

  2. David says:

    This scheme does not appear to have been publicised. Indeed there is nothing at all on Arriva’s website and I have been unable to find anything on TfL’s site. The first we knew of this was when my children complained that they were being bluntly refused entry to the buses they are using to get home from school.
    My children and I do not object to the scheme, but it would have been far less frustrating and offensive to them if they knew what was going on rather than suffer the indignity of being discourteously refused access to the service they were used to using.
    If the transport network’s own websites don’t mention the scheme, how are the users supposed to know?

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