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London buses return to near-normal on back of new safety measures

Passengers on London’s buses can now pay on board and use front-door boarding while bus capacity limits have also been increased, following safety improvements introduced by Transport for London.

Previously, middle-door boarding, and a suspension on the need to touch in with Oyster, contactless and concessionary cards, had been introduced to protect bus drivers from coronavirus.

But customers are now required to touch in on all buses, entering through the front doors in most cases, as part of a programme of phased return, first started in late May.

The return to more normal operation comes after analysis from University College London’s (UCL) Centre for Transport Studies and Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering found the protective measures TfL had introduced, including sealing off gaps in the driver’s assault screen, significantly reduced the risk to drivers of contracting coronavirus from customers.

TfL has also further enhanced its cleaning and hygiene measures and continues to stress the need for all customers to wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth for their entire journey, unless they are exempt. Enforcement officers are patrolling the transport network and TfL said more than 10,000 people have already been stopped from travelling without a face covering.

Additionally, temporary bus capacity limits have now been increased in line with the Government’s latest social distancing guidance, although capacity is still not back to pre-coronavirus levels.

Heidi Alexander, deputy mayor for transport, said: “The extensive safety measures that we have taken, combined with the Government’s change to social distancing rules, means that we can reintroduce front door boarding and accept more passengers on our buses, but this does not mean a complete return to normal capacity on services. I urge Londoners to continue to walk and cycle when they can, to avoid travelling on public transport at peak times, and remind them that they must wear a face covering for their entire journey.”

Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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