All London buses are once again taking payments for fares, after new measures designed to protect drivers and passengers from coronavirus were introduced across the entire TfL fleet.
The reintroduction follows a detailed analyisis by University College London’s (UCL) Centre for Transport Studies and Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering.
This found that the protective measures introduced by TfL, which included sealing off gaps in the driver’s assault screen, significantly reduce the risk to drivers of contracting coronavirus from customers.
Claire Mann, TfL’s Director of Bus Operations, said, ‘The safety of our staff has always been paramount. That’s why we commissioned expert research to ensure driver cabs are as safe as they can be before reinstating front-door boarding and accepting customer payments.
‘It is thanks to drivers, and all other bus workers, that bus services have continued to run during the pandemic, and at levels close to what they would be normally. This enabled many thousands of NHS and other key workers in London to get to work and carry out their vital jobs. The bus network is now playing a vital role in enabling the journeys of people returning to work and to London’s restaurants, pubs and other venues, helping London’s recovery from the pandemic.”
Customers must now touch in with Oyster, contactless and concessionary cards on all buses, entering through the front doors on most buses in a near complete return to traditional front-door boarding arrangements.
An array of other measures have also been put in place by TfL to ensure maximum safety. These include strict new cleaning and hygiene measures, with all regular ‘touch point’ areas such as poles and doors being wiped down with a strong disinfectant every day, and the use of additional hospital-grade cleaning substances.
Customers must also wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth for their entire journey, unless they are exempt. Already more than 10,000 people have been stopped from travelling without a face covering.
Passengers tapping in also gives TfL accurate information to ensure it is providing the service needed to enable safe travel for all. This has allowed temporary bus capacity limits to increase in line with the Government’s latest social distancing guidance. Double-decker buses can now carry up to 30 passengers, while single-deckers, depending on size, can carry either 11 or 14 passengers.
Signs on buses clearly mark these new passenger limits, and drivers have the discretion to allow more customers on board if they are travelling in household groups. A one out, one in policy operates on buses at full capacity.