Feeling nervous about getting on the tube or bus again to commute to work? Not fit or traffic-aware enough to cycle? There may be another way.
While London is empty of tourists, those open-top buses that usually ferry them round the capital’s sightseeing hotspots are sitting idle. But now The Original Tour wants to use its 200-strong fleet to take you and your neighbours to work. Travel crowdsourcing platform Snap will employ the buses to provide commuter routes between popular transport hubs. It has trialled a journey from Walthamstow that shadows the Victoria line, with forthcoming routes dependent on demand.
Prospective passengers can register their home and work destinations on the Snap website, and as soon as there are about 20 people interested in making the same journey, a bus route will be put into action. There’s an app that commuters can use to track the arrival time of their ride, which will also enable contact tracing, and fares for each trip will depend on how many seats are occupied.
The buses will offer a socially distanced, contact-free experience in the fresh air. Thomas Ableman, founder of Snap, said: ‘This crisis requires fresh thinking and open-top buses are the perfect way to get people into the office in safety and comfort.’
Darren Neylon, managing director of The Original Tour, said: ‘We see this is an ideal opportunity to use our open-top buses and our friendly team of drivers to enable Londoners to get to work in a very safe manner and help get businesses working again. We’re excited to be part of this innovative project.’
But will those drivers impart fascinating facts about the London landmarks you’ll pass en route? We doubt it.
Experts are saying that parts of London Underground should shut to halt the spread of the virus.