TfL trials safer boarding on London buses
Posted: 8 April 2020 | Sam Mehmet (Intelligent Transport)
Public transport in London is being run for critical workers only, and to further reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the trial will allow passengers to board buses through the middle doors only.
Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed that a trial of middle-door only boarding in buses will begin, as it looks to enhance its work to ensure that public transport is safe for staff and critical workers who need to use it for essential journeys.
The trial is the latest in a number of measures aimed at protecting bus workers and the critical workers who need to travel during the COVID-19 crisis. TfL has been working with Unite the Union and bus operators to discourage passengers from sitting near the driver, as well as by adding an extra layer of protection to the clear screen that separates the driver from customers.
Middle-door only boarding aims to ensure that critical workers can continue to rely on London’s buses to travel, while ensuring that drivers, who have no option to change seats or move in the bus, can maintain social distancing while working. The trial will assess how the change works in live operations and whether it causes any issues.
TfL has repeatedly reminded everyone that travel on public transport is only for critical workers making absolutely essential journeys, and has seen the number of people using buses drop by around 85 per cent.
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.”