Buses restricted to school children will be launched across many routes in London next week as the return of schools meets the need for social distancing.
However, to alleviate the obvious difficulties this will cause 230 extra buses will be running.
Around a quarter of a million children used buses to reach schools in London before lockdown. To help prevent gridlock on roads if many now start to be driven, buses plus walking and cycling measures aim to prevent increasing car use.
Some of the routes in London that will see children-only buses running among buses available to all in the mornings are 53, 54, 96, 99, 160, 161, 177, 180, 229, 244, 301, 321, 469 and 472.
A much more limited restriction applies in the afternoon with routes mentioned above open to all with one of the few SE London routes restricted being 469.
Additional buses will run on 492, B11, B14, B15 and B16 alongside normal school buses on routes numbered in the 600s.
Why this is happening
Car use in London is already at the same level – if not above – pre-March levels even with many still working from home, on furlough and without schools back. Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are being blame by some for rising traffic though areas without are also seeing heavy congestion as more drive. The point of LTNs is to encourage people to shift behaviour where possible as people return to work and children to school, as without doing so London is heading for extreme levels of gridlock.
Removing all LTNs will not stop that given the sheer numbers of people and cars in London. Three million commuters alone used public transport in the capital on a daily basis. Public transport is of course now restricted. It’s a tough balancing act, and whatever happens there will be many difficulties in weeks and months to come.
Funding is coming from central government according to TfL with £5.8 million from the Department for Education.
TfL also state: “There will be no changes to fares and ticketing for children in September and a start date for the temporary suspension of under-18 free travel requested by the Government in the funding agreement between them and TfL has not yet been confirmed”. Some sources have now mentioned October.
Further details on routes and this policy can be seen on the TfL website here.