Get us in your inbox

London bus
Steven Hughes/Flickr

TfL’s new bus safety announcement isn’t going down well with passengers

James Manning

If you were on a bus or anywhere near social media this weekend, you might have noticed there’s been a bit of a tizzy over the latest addition to Transport for London’s canon of bus announcements. ‘Please hold on – the bus is about to move’: nine simple words that have enraged thousands of Londoners. Why? Because the ubiquitous new message often plays a good few seconds after the bus has started rolling.

Here’s what you had to say about it:

You get the picture. So what’s going on? Well, there’s a sensible idea in there somewhere. TfL wants to reduce the number of people injured when buses move off unexpectedly or suddenly. According to its own data, there were more than 4,000 injuries on board London buses in 2016. The ‘please hold on’ announcement is supposed to help cut that number in future years.

But with bus announcements, as with stand-up comedy, timing is everything. From what we’ve been able to gather, the ‘Please hold on…’ warning is triggered 20 seconds after the doors have opened at a bus stop. Twenty seconds is the average amount of time a London bus spends at a stop (aren’t you glad you asked?) – so in theory, the announcement should play when the bus is just about to pull away. However, when buses spend less than 20 seconds at a stop (as lots of them do), the announcement comes in late, the bus is already moving and everyone on board is rolling their eyes.

The good news is that this is a trial period and that TfL is listening to passenger feedback:

So the new announcements might be here to stay, they might end up timed differently or they might disappear altogether. For now, let’s celebrate the fact that even in a city as divided as ours, there’s something that brings us all together. Look, you can even buy a T-shirt!

Sign up here to get the latest from London straight to your inbox.

Popular on Time Out

    Latest news

      Read next