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London Buses to be free (for all essential journeys) from Monday @ Transport for London
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London Buses to be free (for all essential journeys) from Monday @ Transport for London

Expert (Beta)89
Expert (Beta)
Posted 17th AprAvailable: London

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London Buses are free for to use from Monday for all essential journeys. The temporary decision to tell passengers they no longer need to pay coincides with a trial involving passengers using the middle door to board on nine routes being extended to all buses in the capital. Passengers have been told to use the middle doors of buses, rather than the front door near where the driver sits. I'm unsure how long this free travel will last for, but I imagine it will last until the main lockdown ends

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Does seem a counter intuitive move...

While we're on the subject, did social distancing not apply when half of London was on Westminster bridge last night clapping. Utterly unnecessary and dangerous.
Edited by: "KTy" 17th Apr
This isn't really a deal and people shouldn't be encouraged to use this. They're operating at a loss while trying to keep an important service working. I really hope people don't go rushing out now (ignoring social distancing) trying to get free bus rides.
This isn't to save people money. It is to save lives. So many TFL staff have died. I'm glad that this measure is being taken to protect them.

Don't use it if you don't NEED it.

Looking at the bigger picture, saving lives does save money and reduces pressure on the NHS.
Great call London Transport.

Cheers OP
89 Comments
Great call London Transport.

Cheers OP
Does seem a counter intuitive move...

While we're on the subject, did social distancing not apply when half of London was on Westminster bridge last night clapping. Utterly unnecessary and dangerous.
Edited by: "KTy" 17th Apr
This isn't really a deal and people shouldn't be encouraged to use this. They're operating at a loss while trying to keep an important service working. I really hope people don't go rushing out now (ignoring social distancing) trying to get free bus rides.
Jaestar6917/04/2020 11:42

This isn't really a deal and people shouldn't be encouraged to use this. …This isn't really a deal and people shouldn't be encouraged to use this. They're operating at a loss while trying to keep an important service working. I really hope people don't go rushing out now (ignoring social distancing) trying to get free bus rides.


Exactly. Though will say nearly all public transport does run at a loss and operates from government funding, so making it free doesn't have a huge impact. Nonetheless this will encourage people to travel when they don't need to.
Edited by: "KTy" 17th Apr
Jaestar6917/04/2020 11:42

This isn't really a deal and people shouldn't be encouraged to use this. …This isn't really a deal and people shouldn't be encouraged to use this. They're operating at a loss while trying to keep an important service working. I really hope people don't go rushing out now (ignoring social distancing) trying to get free bus rides.


Oh they will.
How do they class what is an essential journey v/s not - I just hope people dont misuse it and put their and other people's lives at risk. Outside of that a good move, thanks for posting as always too mate
Jaestar6917/04/2020 11:42

This isn't really a deal and people shouldn't be encouraged to use this. …This isn't really a deal and people shouldn't be encouraged to use this. They're operating at a loss while trying to keep an important service working. I really hope people don't go rushing out now (ignoring social distancing) trying to get free bus rides.


I'm sure TFL have made enough off the London public! to now provide some free travel for essential travelers - rather late off the mark PR if you ask me!
Nice "deal".

kazka17/04/2020 12:07

I'm sure TFL have made enough off the London public! to now provide some …I'm sure TFL have made enough off the London public! to now provide some free travel for essential travelers - rather late off the mark PR if you ask me!


Sure lap it up, we will all be paying for it in fare increases later on in the year.
This isn't to save people money. It is to save lives. So many TFL staff have died. I'm glad that this measure is being taken to protect them.

Don't use it if you don't NEED it.

Looking at the bigger picture, saving lives does save money and reduces pressure on the NHS.
KTy17/04/2020 11:39

Does seem a counter intuitive move...While we're on the subject, did …Does seem a counter intuitive move...While we're on the subject, did social distancing not apply when half of London was on Westminster bridge last night clapping. Utterly unnecessary and dangerous.


We pay them in claps, not in money.
The louder we clap, the quieter the NHS' cries are for more pay.

It's like getting a pat on the back when you tidied up your messy classy room.
K0YS17/04/2020 12:22

We pay them in claps, not in money.The louder we clap, the quieter the …We pay them in claps, not in money.The louder we clap, the quieter the NHS' cries are for more pay.It's like getting a pat on the back when you tidied up your messy classy room.


It was more the point about ignoring social distancing than the clapping. But yeah I do share your sentiments, not one NHS worker I know feels any better about the situation because every Thursday people clap. Give them hazard pay.
matwalaboy17/04/2020 12:07

How do they class what is an essential journey v/s not - I just hope …How do they class what is an essential journey v/s not - I just hope people dont misuse it and put their and other people's lives at risk. Outside of that a good move, thanks for posting as always too mate


I guess any journey which falls under the governments acceptable reasons to leave the house. I guess work & food shopping are likely to be the main reasons
PlanetGanet17/04/2020 12:18

This isn't to save people money. It is to save lives. So many TFL staff …This isn't to save people money. It is to save lives. So many TFL staff have died. I'm glad that this measure is being taken to protect them.Don't use it if you don't NEED it.Looking at the bigger picture, saving lives does save money and reduces pressure on the NHS.


How is this saving lives?
Jaestar6917/04/2020 11:42

This isn't really a deal and people shouldn't be encouraged to use this. …This isn't really a deal and people shouldn't be encouraged to use this. They're operating at a loss while trying to keep an important service working. I really hope people don't go rushing out now (ignoring social distancing) trying to get free bus rides.


Perhaps it's intentional. An "unofficial" step toward lifting social interaction restrictions.
There's no way this action has been undertaken without govt. knowledge.

People seem to be missing the fact that Herd Immunity is the only solution, and to that effect it is absolutely necessary that 80% of the population contract Covid-19

This is something the government itself spoke about during the initial responses, and only backtracked when the virus proved more contagious than anticipated, and was overwhelming NHS capacity

Perhaps best to see this all out of the way within months, rather than years?
BY188B17/04/2020 12:15

Sure lap it up, we will all be paying for it in fare increases later on …Sure lap it up, we will all be paying for it in fare increases later on in the year.


The large reduction of passengers because people are doing the RIGHT THING by staying HOME wont make a lot of difference to the cost of running the service. But it will offer relief of the financial pressure on those who do have to travel, to keep essential service running.
My guess it will be free until the company who provides the 'tap in tap out' technology can put a unit in the middle of the bus rather than just at the front, so avoiding the front door all together.
(That company is trialing such a unit at the moment)
Footsore17/04/2020 12:29

Perhaps it's intentional. An "unofficial" step toward lifting social …Perhaps it's intentional. An "unofficial" step toward lifting social interaction restrictions.There's no way this action has been undertaken without govt. knowledge.People seem to be missing the fact that Herd Immunity is the only solution, and to that effect it is absolutely necessary that 80% of the population contract Covid-19This is something the government itself spoke about during the initial responses, and only backtracked when the virus proved more contagious than anticipated, and was overwhelming NHS capacityPerhaps best to see this all out of the way within months, rather than years?


Still beliving the 'herd immunity' tripe, are we?
Bazallworks17/04/2020 12:33

Still beliving the 'herd immunity' tripe, are we?


A credible alternative being?
Edited by: "Footsore" 17th Apr
chopper60317/04/2020 12:31

My guess it will be free until the company who provides the 'tap in tap …My guess it will be free until the company who provides the 'tap in tap out' technology can put a unit in the middle of the bus rather than just at the front, so avoiding the front door all together. (That company is trialing such a unit at the moment)


The 'boris' bus already ahd them, several in fact, also at the rear. Don't quite know what there is to 'trial'
BY188B17/04/2020 12:15

Sure lap it up, we will all be paying for it in fare increases later on …Sure lap it up, we will all be paying for it in fare increases later on in the year.



Good thing i'm leaving LDN for good, later in the year also
KTy17/04/2020 11:39

Does seem a counter intuitive move...While we're on the subject, did …Does seem a counter intuitive move...While we're on the subject, did social distancing not apply when half of London was on Westminster bridge last night clapping. Utterly unnecessary and dangerous.


3.5 Million people? On one Bridge?
While we're exaggerating, social distancing amongst those that HAVE to work together and provide emergency services. Wonder how many of those 3.5 million will die as a result of standing nearby clapping.
Cut the wingeing and accept that this is a positive move for the health of TFL staff. It's free becuase on most buses the readers are at the front, which will be cordoned off.
I don't understand what's counter intuative
Footsore17/04/2020 12:29

Perhaps it's intentional. An "unofficial" step toward lifting social …Perhaps it's intentional. An "unofficial" step toward lifting social interaction restrictions.There's no way this action has been undertaken without govt. knowledge.People seem to be missing the fact that Herd Immunity is the only solution, and to that effect it is absolutely necessary that 80% of the population contract Covid-19This is something the government itself spoke about during the initial responses, and only backtracked when the virus proved more contagious than anticipated, and was overwhelming NHS capacityPerhaps best to see this all out of the way within months, rather than years?


There is no evidence that catching it gives immunity - there is some evidence that it does not. Quite scary but that's the current picture.

Common cold is also a coronavirus!
Footsore17/04/2020 12:35

A credible alternative being?


Not letting millions of people catch a virus. Just my two pennies.
KTy17/04/2020 12:26

How is this saving lives?


At least 26 TFL staff have died. 20 believed to be bus drivers. They were still handling cash. No payment will be needed now and travellers will not all be getting on the bus next to the driver.
mrew4217/04/2020 12:40

3.5 Million people? On one Bridge?While we're exaggerating, social …3.5 Million people? On one Bridge?While we're exaggerating, social distancing amongst those that HAVE to work together and provide emergency services. Wonder how many of those 3.5 million will die as a result of standing nearby clapping.Cut the wingeing and accept that this is a positive move for the health of TFL staff. It's free becuase on most buses the readers are at the front, which will be cordoned off.I don't understand what's counter intuative


Yes obviously it was an exaggeration, but it doesn't make a blind bit of difference what people's intentions were crowding there. It goes against social distancing law
Edited by: "KTy" 17th Apr
Don't think this should be on here. Will encourage more to venture out unnecessarily.
Bazallworks17/04/2020 12:42

Not letting millions of people catch a virus. Just my two pennies.


The issue was the government was far too late to react meaning their herd immunity plan went out the window. That is always the only guaranteed option in a pandemic while a cure is found, if it can be found
PlanetGanet17/04/2020 12:43

At least 26 TFL staff have died. 20 believed to be bus drivers. They were …At least 26 TFL staff have died. 20 believed to be bus drivers. They were still handling cash. No payment will be needed now and travellers will not all be getting on the bus next to the driver.


That's a fair comment I will give you that. Unfortunately it will have the side effect of more travelling when they don't need
KTy17/04/2020 12:52

That's a fair comment I will give you that. Unfortunately it will have the …That's a fair comment I will give you that. Unfortunately it will have the side effect of more travelling when they don't need


Sadly some people will still behave irresponsibly and put others at risk whatever the arrangements.
mrew4217/04/2020 12:36

The 'boris' bus already ahd them, several in fact, also at the rear. Don't …The 'boris' bus already ahd them, several in fact, also at the rear. Don't quite know what there is to 'trial'


Like retro fitting it to a bus already in service
PlanetGanet17/04/2020 12:53

Sadly some people will still behave irresponsibly and put others at risk …Sadly some people will still behave irresponsibly and put others at risk whatever the arrangements.


True enough. I'll stop being a comedown and go find something off Amazon I don't really need. I suppose we're all guilty using this site
KTy17/04/2020 12:55

True enough. I'll stop being a comedown and go find something off Amazon I …True enough. I'll stop being a comedown and go find something off Amazon I don't really need. I suppose we're all guilty using this site


Thats's the spirit. Make those Amazon workes break social distancing laws instead
Hang on...what about those buses where they only have one set of doors for passengers to hop on and hop out? Will they be cancelling those bus route services altogether?
Edited by: "book_finder" 17th Apr
tfl.gov.uk/inf…701

*** This is not really a deal so should be expired ***



TfL introduces middle-door only boarding across the London bus network17 April 2020
Following a successful trial, passengers will only be able to enter via the centre doors of buses from Monday
"I'm really pleased that TfL will be introducing middle-door only boarding across the London bus network "
Sadiq Khan
The Mayor of London
  • Middle-door only boarding is one of a range of measures to keep drivers safe during the pandemic
  • Bus drivers are playing a vital role in transporting critical workers during the national emergency and nobody else should be travelling
Buses in London will temporarily become middle-door only boarding from Monday 20 April as part of Transport for London's (TfL's) efforts to help combat coronavirus. This change will further improve safety for bus drivers and critical workers as passengers will only be able to board using the centre doors of buses, enabling better social distancing while the city is fighting the virus.

The change to boarding will provide better protection for drivers, who are playing a vital role in helping other critical workers, like doctors and nurses, to tackle the virus. The safety boost follows a trial on nine routes to ensure that it was safe for all. From observing passengers across the 140 buses involved in the trial, TfL is also confident that the low number of people currently using the network can keep a safe distance when entering and exiting through the same door. This is possible as TfL and the Mayor have repeatedly reminded everyone that public transport is only for absolutely essential journeys. This has seen the number of people on buses plummet by around 85 per cent.

During the period of these temporary arrangements where passengers enter through the middle-doors, they will not be required to touch in. Customers should not approach the card reader near the driver's cab.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

'I am extremely grateful to all our heroic transport workers for the fantastic job they do day in and day out keeping our city moving and helping key workers get to where they are needed most.

'I'm really pleased that TfL will be introducing middle-door only boarding across the London bus network from Monday following a successful trial. This will further protect drivers and follows on from enhancing the anti-viral cleaning regime across the network, adding a new protective film to the screens of drivers' cabs, and preventing passengers sitting next to bus drivers.

'I will continue to do whatever it takes to keep our heroic transport workers as safe as possible. But I would like to remind Londoners that you shouldn't be travelling by any mode of transport unless it is absolutely necessary, and public transport is only open for critical workers.'


Claire Mann, TfL's Director of Bus Operations, said:

'Bus drivers are pivotal in ensuring critical workers like NHS staff and grocery workers can perform the vital roles they do during this national emergency.

'Their efforts are nothing short of heroic, and it is essential that we leave no stone unturned when looking to protect them. Extending middle-door only boarding across the bus network will add another layer of protection on top of the other robust safeguards in place.

'Even with these significant safety enhancements I would like to remind Londoners to stay at home to ensure that critical workers and London's bus drivers can get around the city safely.'

Pete Kavanagh, Unite London and Eastern Regional Secretary, said:

'This is a very welcome move and we are very relieved that TfL is listening to Unite and its members. We have lost members of our bus family in recent days and we refuse to lose any more.

'Unite has been asking for central boarding as an essential safety measure during these times because bus workers are, understandably, fearful for their health. It is reassuring that the Mayor and TfL have listened and acted now to protect this workforce.

'We have 20,000 bus workers across the capital. They have lost colleagues and friends in recent weeks. They need to see all the support that they can muster from the Mayor, the employers and TfL so that they can assure their loved ones that they are being kept safe at work.'

The new operation of buses builds on the enhanced social distancing measures already introduced by TfL after working closely with the trade union Unite. This includes signage asking passengers not to sit in the seats near the driver's cab, improvements to the protective screen that shields drivers and regular announcements to reinforce the need to keep a safe space from others. TfL is also exploring what more can be done to create a completely sealed partition between drivers and passengers that allows for both communication and ventilation.

TfL has also introduced a rigorous cleaning regime to kill the virus across TfL's services using new, anti-viral fluid in stations, depots, bus garages, trains and on buses, including the driver's cab.

Middle-door boarding arrangements will be kept under review and will need to be adjusted as the Government reviews in future the travel restrictions currently in place across the country.




Notes to editors:

  • Middle-door only boarding will operate until further notice as the country tackles coronavirus
  • TfL is funding enhanced sick pay for bus staff who are suffering from COVID-19 symptoms, or have to self-isolate for up to 14 days because someone in their household has symptoms. This is to ensure drivers don't feel forced to attend work for financial reasons when they shouldn't, while ensuring we have sufficient drivers to maintain the service for critical workers.
  • The trial of middle-door boarding was on nine Abellio routes that operate out of Walworth bus garage. It included two routes that serve hospitals.
  • Extensive daily cleaning takes place across the network, ensuring that 'touch points' on buses (including steering wheel, poles, doors and handles) are treated with antiviral cleaner (as used elsewhere in TfL) every night after the regular cleaning is completed. Bus garages and rest rooms are similarly treated daily.
  • Social distancing is in place in depots, both for drivers and other staff. Union reps have been stood down to support local managers in enforcing this.
  • Tables and chairs in canteens and other rest areas have been reduced to force social distancing. At bus garages and bus stands/stations additional buses have been parked and designated as staff rest areas.
  • TfL has asked customers to not sit in seats nearest to bus drivers and signage is now out on the network.
  • All drivers on London Buses are shielded from public interaction by a clear protective screen. Enhancements have been made on all buses to ensure this screen provides even higher levels of protection. Announcements are also in place on buses for customers to encourage social distancing.
  • The very latest advice from scientific experts such as the World Health Organisation and Public Health England is that is that clinical personal protective equipment (PPE) is not required in non-care settings and could be counterproductive. This is, however, constantly being reviewed so the Mayor has asked TfL to look into the availability of PPE stock for transport workers in case the advice changes.
KTy17/04/2020 12:26

How is this saving lives?


Perhaps you haven't heard of the transport workers who sadly have lost their lives coming to work to provide a service for what should primarily be for key workers.
Never been so happy that I have a bike, as for the 8 o'clock chorus, good intentions but remember what the Tory plans for the NHS were post Brexit
PlanetGanet17/04/2020 12:43

At least 26 TFL staff have died. 20 believed to be bus drivers. They were …At least 26 TFL staff have died. 20 believed to be bus drivers. They were still handling cash. No payment will be needed now and travellers will not all be getting on the bus next to the driver.



I thought all TFL operated buses were card only? Seems a bit odd they were handling cash....
Besford17/04/2020 12:40

There is no evidence that catching it gives immunity - there is some …There is no evidence that catching it gives immunity - there is some evidence that it does not. Quite scary but that's the current picture.Common cold is also a coronavirus!


Agreed 100% on the last point - and with no cure for that ever proving possible, it seems unlikely one will be forthcoming for the Covid19 strain

Worse. Even if there is, next year could see Covid20.
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