Last reviewed 2 September 2020
Transport for London (TfL) has reminded Londoners of important changes being made to the bus network that will make it easier for children, young people and teachers to travel safely on public transport as schools reopen.
The changes, which will see large parts of the bus network operate differently than before, are also intended to help to accommodate the journeys of the growing number of people returning to their workplaces across London as national pandemic restrictions are gradually eased.
Pre-pandemic, around 250,000 school children used London's buses daily to get to and from school.
To ensure that they can safely return, TfL is asking schools and parents to encourage walking, cycling or scooting to school wherever possible, with an extensive communications campaign having been launched to encourage people to do so.
From Tuesday, 1 September, TfL 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.
It will add more than 230 extra buses as School Services to bolster some of the busiest lower frequency routes that are highly used by school children, including adding more vehicles to its existing school bus services.
This means that on some routes that serve schools, around half of buses will be designated as a School Service during school travel times.
All buses designated for school travel will carry prominent "School Service" signs to clearly indicate that people not travelling to school should not use them.
Other buses on those routes with some school services and some non-school services, will have red signs to differentiate them from School Services and show school children to avoid boarding them.
Gareth Powell, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: “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.”