Last reviewed 8 September 2021

As the new academic term starts, Transport for London (TfL) has reminded customers of the best way to get to school comfortably and on time.

With bus ridership now at two-thirds of pre-pandemic levels, it is advising people generally to plan their journeys ahead and aim to travel at quieter times if possible. These are currently between 08:15 and 16:00 and after 17:30 on weekdays, and before noon and after 18:00 on weekends.

A full bus service is running across London, with school day-only routes - those generally numbered 600 to 699 - running as they did in the previous academic term.

Buses have been modified to keep windows propped open and fitted with a range of air extraction and ventilation systems to ensure that fresh air circulates throughout the vehicle.

TfL has announced that bus capacity has returned to normal pre-pandemic levels and customers should take the first available bus and make use of all available seats and space, particularly with standing now permitted.

Parents are reminded to check that their children's Zip Oyster Cards are still in date so that they can continue to pay less for their travel. If needed, parents can renew the card, or apply for one for children turning 11, on the TfL website. Any existing pay-as-you-go credit will usually be transferred to the child's new photocard.

The School Streets programme continues to restrict vehicle access outside schools during drop off and pick up times in more than 350 locations, making active journeys to school safer and easier and helping to tackle children's exposure to air pollution.

Andy Byford, London's Transport Commissioner said: “Returning to school and the workplace this September after a period away may take some getting used to for many. We're reassuring Londoners that we're ready to take you where you need to get to, with a full service, a thorough cleaning regime and good ventilation to keep everyone safe, an increasing number of walking and cycling routes and tools such as TfL Go to help you plan your journey in real time.”

Face coverings continue to be a requirement for all customers aged 11 and over as a condition of carriage, he emphasises, unless an exemption applies.