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Extra buses being brought in for school journeys

An example of a bus that will be designated for students (credit: TfL)

Transport for London is making a series of changes to the bus network to make it easier for children to return to school next week.

An additional 230 extra buses will be running across Greater London and busy routes will have buses designated exclusively for those traveling to school.

However, parents, students, and teachers are still being encouraged to walk, cycle, or scoot when possible.

Before the pandemic, around 250,000 children were using London buses each day to get to and from school.

From Tuesday 1 September, TfL says it will:

• Designate some existing regular buses as School Services on high-frequency routes, which are prioritised for school travel and can operate at full seated capacity consistent with Government guidelines;
• Add more than 230 extra buses as School Services to bolster some of the busiest lower frequency routes that are highly used by schoolchildren, including adding more vehicles to its existing school bus services.

The changes will be in place on weekdays between 7.30-9.30am and 2.30-4.30pm.

During those times, around half of buses will be designated as a School Services. They will have yellow signs on them to encourage non-students to wait for the next bus, while non-school services will have red signs, to advise pupils to wait for a different service if possible.

While regular services will continue to have social distancing measures and reduced capacity, school services will not, in line with updated advice from the government. 

Children aged 11 or over will have to wear a face covering while onboard services though. People should also carry hand sanitiser and wash their hands before and after they travel.

Gareth Powell, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: “We are doing everything we can to get children and young people back to school as well as supporting their teachers and other school staff and people returning to their workplaces after the summer break. Changes on this scale have never been made to the bus network before and we need everyone to do their bit to ensure children can safely return to school. It will greatly help if people can travel outside the peaks or walk, cycle, or scoot wherever they can.

“Our transport network is the cleanest it has ever been, with extensive and frequent cleaning taking place, and our staff and police colleagues are out across the network to help and to ensure everyone understands the rules on face coverings.

“September is always a challenge on the bus network and, given the circumstances, customers may need to wait a bit longer to board buses. but with these new measures and the extra buses we are providing, and with everyone playing their part, we can ensure that everyone can reliably and safely get where they need to be, and London can continue to recover from the pandemic.”

TfL says there will be no changes to fares and ticketing for children in September.

The 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.

High-frequency routes that will have School Services in the mornings will include: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 18, 21, 25, 33, 34, 35, 36, 39, 41, 44, 46, 47, 51, 53, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 63, 64, 65, 66, 68, 70, 71, 80, 81, 83, 85, 86, 87, 92, 93, 95, 96, 97, 99, 102, 103, 108, 109, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 118, 120, 121, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 131, 132, 133, 134, 136, 137, 140, 143, 144, 145, 147, 150, 151, 154, 155, 157, 159, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 170, 172, 174, 176, 177, 180, 184, 185, 188, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195, 197, 198, 199, 200, 202, 204, 207, 212, 213, 217, 219, 220, 221, 222, 226, 227, 229, 231, 235, 236, 237, 244, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 256, 257, 258, 262, 263, 267, 270, 271, 276, 279, 283, 284, 285, 288, 296, 299, 301, 307, 312, 316, 319, 320, 321, 326, 329, 330, 332, 333, 337, 343, 344, 357, 358, 363, 364, 366, 371, 379, 380, 381, 391, 393, 410, 417, 419, 422, 425, 427, 428, 430, 432, 433, 440, 450, 452, 453, 466, 468, 469, 472, 473, 483, 484, 486, 490, 607, B12, C10, C11, D6, E1, E2, E6, E8, E9, EL2, EL3, H10, H19, H22, H37, H91, H98, K2, K3, P4, R11, R70, S1, U1, U2, U4, U5, W11, W13, W15, W19, W3, W4, W6, W7, W8

High-frequency routes that will have School Services in the afternoons will include: 25, 33, 39, 46, 51, 54, 58, 61, 65, 80, 81, 92, 93, 95, 96, 110, 111, 112, 114, 120, 123, 124, 125, 126, 131, 132, 140, 143, 144, 147, 152, 157, 162, 163, 164, 165, 170, 184, 190, 192, 193, 200, 208, 213, 217, 221, 227, 229, 234, 235, 237, 238, 244, 248, 256, 261, 267, 270, 276, 279, 281, 284, 296, 316, 320, 326, 358, 364, 366, 371, 410, 419, 427, 433, 440, 444, 450, 469, 490, 607, C11, D6, E6, H10, H19, H22, H37, H98, K2, K3, P4, R11, R70, S1, U1, U2, W13, W16, W19, W3, W4, W6, W8

Lower-frequency routes that will have additional buses in the morning will include: 20, 50, 89, 110, 116, 117, 119, 122, 130, 138, 142, 152, 153, 167, 181, 186, 187, 201, 203, 206, 215, 216, 223, 225, 228, 232, 233, 234, 246, 255, 265, 269, 272, 273, 275, 282, 287, 289, 290, 294, 298, 300, 309, 313, 315, 317, 322, 323, 324, 325, 331, 339, 346, 352, 353, 354, 355, 356, 359, 360, 362, 367, 370, 372, 376, 377, 382, 383, 394, 395, 396, 397, 401, 406, 407, 411, 412, 413, 418, 434, 444, 455, 462, 463, 465, 470, 481, 487, 491, 492, 493, 496, 498, 499, 533, A10, B11, B14, B15, B16, E10, E11, E5, E7, G1, H17, H18, H2, H20, H25, H26, H28, K1, K4, K5, P12, P13, P5, R2, R3, R4, R68, R7, R8, S3, S4, U3, U7, W16, W5, W9

Lower-frequency routes that will have additional buses in the afternoon will include: 117, 130, 142, 167, 181, 187, 201, 203, 206, 216, 223, 226, 232, 233, 251, 255, 265, 269, 272, 273, 289, 290, 300, 309, 313, 317, 324, 325, 331, 339, 352, 353, 354, 355, 360, 362, 367, 370, 376, 377, 380, 382, 393, 394, 396, 397, 398, 405, 411, 413, 428, 434, 455, 462, 463, 465, 470, 481, 484, 487, 491, 492, 493, 499, B12, B13, B14, B15, B16, E10, E11, E5, E7, G1, H17, H18, H20, H25, K1, K4, K5, P13, P5, R1, R2, R4, R6, R68, R7, S3, S4, U3, U7, W9, X26

The following school services will also have extra buses in the morning: 601, 602, 603, 608, 612, 613, 617, 626, 631, 632, 635, 638, 640, 643, 646, 652, 653, 655, 656, 657, 661, 662, 663, 664, 665, 667, 669, 671, 674, 677, 678, 679, 681, 683, 684, 688, 689, 696, 697, 698, 699

The following school services will also have extra buses in the afternoon: 601, 602, 612, 613, 617, 624, 626, 627, 628, 629, 631, 632, 635, 642, 643, 646, 652, 653, 655, 656, 657, 662, 663, 664, 665, 667, 669, 671, 675, 677, 678, 679, 683, 684, 685, 686, 687, 688, 689, 690, 692, 697, 698, 699

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM

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