TfL announces additional buses for returning to school – but not on key Chiswick route

31 August, 2020 / by Matt Smith

TfL has said that extra buses are to be introduced across London, in order to cope with the increased demand when children return to school on 1 September.

Up to half of TfL’s services are to be increased across London, with many areas seeing the introduction of ‘school service’ buses.

These buses will solely transport schoolchildren, keeping them separate from other commuters.

On routes that aren’t as busy, additional regular buses will also be running from the start of term.

Changes to Chiswick’s buses

From 7.30am to 9.30am and 2.30pm to 4.30pm, school buses will display “school service” signs, with red signs on regular buses telling children not to board.

The 237, 267, 391 & 440 routes will all have a school service bus – both in the morning and the afternoon; the H91 & 391 routes will only get one in the morning. The 272 route will see additional regular buses in both the morning and afternoon, but the 27 service will see an increase, according to the list published by TfL.

No change to key route which serves Chiswick School

The E3 service, which stops right outside Chiswick School, will not see an increase.

Where there are additional student buses introduced, social distancing rules will be relaxed, in line with Government guidance, meaning that every seat will be available to use. Children aged 11 or over must wear a face covering unless they are exempt for health reasons.

Bus travel will still be free for under 18s, with the plans to suspend free travel for children pushed back and no start date confirmed at the time of writing.

Parents are allowed to ride with their children on the new school buses, but other adults should wait for a standard service.

Walk, cycle or scoot ‘where possible’

Before the outbreak of Covid-19, around 250,000 school children used London’s buses daily to get to and from school and, to ensure that they can safely return, parents, students and school staff are encouraged to walk, cycle or scoot to school wherever possible.

To assist with this, all students starting secondary school can now use TfL’s new STARS Safer Journey Planner to plan the best walking and cycle routes, as well as locate the nearest bus stops, train and underground stations to their school and provides information on how to travel safely and responsibly.

Gareth Powell, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said:

“We are doing everything we can to get children and young people back to school as well as supporting their teachers and other school staff and people returning to their workplaces after the summer break.

“Changes on this scale have never been made to the bus network before and we need everyone to do their bit to ensure children can safely return to school. It will greatly help if people can travel outside the peaks or walk, cycle or scoot wherever they can”.

Image above: Gareth Powell, Managing Director of TFL

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Decision to scrap free travel for under-18s in London ‘heartless’ – Ruth Cadbury MP

See also: TfL publishes return-to-work travel guidance