Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
Dozens of extra buses laid on as London schools return
27 August 2020, 08:31
Dozens of extra buses are being laid on in London as schools in the capital prepare to reopen next week.
Pupils heading back into the classroom at the start of next month will have to wear a face covering on public transport if they are over the age of 11.
Some additional lines being put on will see half of all buses dedicated to pupils only and will come with a designated "schools service" sign, said Transport for London (TfL).
These will be free to run at full capacity, however limits will remain in place for regular services.
The new services will commence on Tuesday after the Bank Holiday weekend and will run between 7.30am and 9.30am, and 2.30pm and 4.30pm.
Regular commuters will be warned about expected increased waiting times during these periods, TfL said.
The government is still encouraging people to walk, cycle or scooter to school in order to reduce the pressure on roads - with an extra 230 buses being added to certain routes.
Non-school buses carrying the general public will have red signs to differentiate them and make it clear they should not be used by pupils.
Gareth Powell, TfL's managing director of surface transport, said: "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.
"Our transport network is the cleanest it has ever been, with extensive and frequent cleaning taking place, and our staff and police colleagues are out across the network to help and to ensure everyone understands the rules on face coverings.
"September is always a challenge on the bus network and, given the circumstances, customers may need to wait a bit longer to board buses."
Roughly one-quarter of a million children used London's bus network to get to school prior to the coronavirus pandemic, according to TfL.