TfL steps up preparations for new school year

Ahead of the new academic year, TfL is calling on pupils to walk, cycle or scoot to school where possible.

TfL says it has been working closely with schools, boroughs and the Government to prepare for the significant additional demand on a public transport network where capacity is reduced owing to social distancing measures.

A key part of those preparations is encouraging a modal shift towards active travel, which TfL states is ‘easier and safer’ than ever before – in part due to schemes funded by its Streetspace programme.

This includes 22 new School Streets schemes – where car access is restricted during drop off and pick-up times – with many more due for completion in the coming weeks.

Cycle routes and more cycle parking are being created to facilitate cycling, while a new online Cycle Skills course for new and existing cyclists recently launched, with a module targeted at children.

TfL says more than 3,000 schools have been advised on encouraging active travel and staggered start and end times.

Meanwhile, as the most common transport mode for schoolchildren, TfL has put in place plans to help the bus network to cope with an increase in demand.

Government guidance allows for all available seats to be occupied on dedicated school services, increasing the capacity of these buses.

As a result, plans include dedicating a number of buses for school travel on high-frequency routes that TfL has forecasted to be the busiest. These services will be clearly signed, and information will be posted at bus stops and online.

TfL is also planning to add more than 200 extra dedicated school buses onto some of the busiest low-frequency bus routes, including its existing school services.

Claire Mann, TfL’s director of bus operations, said: “As demand is set to grow further with the new academic term, it’s vital that we build on our existing measures, such as our Streetspace initiatives, providing pupils and parents with the means to travel safely and an alternative to car use, which would lead to high levels of congestion and pollution.

“Londoners have been truly amazing in recent months in their commitment in following safety guidance, both for their own safety and that of their fellow passengers.

“We’re now asking you to walk, cycle or scoot to school where you can as part of this joint effort, and continue to follow these rules as the situation evolves.”

18 August 2020