Transport for London has confirmed that bus travel in the capital will be free for the duration of the lockdown. This is partly because all passengers are now required to enter and exit buses via the middle doors only on those vehicles that have them, to help protect bus drivers. At least 15 bus workers are known to have died so far in London, amid claims that the mayor and TfL have been slow to respond to calls for more protection for transport workers, especially bus drivers, who have more direct contact with passengers.
Mayor Sadiq Khan said: ‘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.’
From today (Monday April 20), passengers will not be required to tap in using their Oyster or credit card. The government advice regarding travel is unchanged, however: people should only undertake essential journeys and to get to and from work, but only if they are not able to work from home. Claire Mann, TfL’s director of bus operations said in a statement: ‘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.’
Bus use in London has dropped by 85 percent since the start of the outbreak.
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