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TfL is trialling a new method of getting on to buses to protect drivers

Alexandra Sims

Some London buses will ask passengers to board only through the middle doors, as TfL ramps up its efforts to protect drivers in the capital. 

A four-week trial of middle-door boarding will begin this week, starting with routes operating from Walworth Bus Garage. 

The trial comes after the sad news that nine London bus drivers have so far died after contracting the virus. It also follows calls from Unite union for TfL to implement enhanced measures to protect bus drivers and passengers.

TfL hopes the new boarding policy will help make travelling safer for bus drivers and critical workers who still need to use buses for essential journeys. It joins other measures such as more stringent cleaning systems, signs urging passengers to not use seats near the driver and providing better protective screens for drivers. 

The number of passengers using London buses has dropped by 85 percent compared to this time last year. The general public has been urged not to use public transport unless they are critical workers making essential journeys. 

Claire Mann, director of bus operations at TfL, said: ‘London’s hard-working transport workers are making a heroic effort at the frontline of the fight against this pandemic, and it is only right we consider everything we can to protect them. We’ve already delivered many other enhanced safety measures and by trialling middle-door-only boarding on buses we can gain the information we need to see if we can further improve safety on London’s buses. Most Londoners can do their bit to protect our bus colleagues and other critical workers by remembering: stay home, don’t travel, save lives.’

Find ways to support your community in our guide: How to help (and get help) in London.

Read up on what you can go outside for, when and who with while London is in lockdown.

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