School services set to run on some east London bus routes as pupils return

The school service sign will be displayed on buses. Picture: TfL

The school service sign will be displayed on buses. Picture: TfL - Credit: TfL

Some rush hour buses are set to become school-only services in a bid to maintain social distancing as youngsters return to the classrooms,

From Tuesday, September 1, certain high-frequency routes will have up to half of buses during peak travel times designated as school services.

These will carry signs to indicate that passengers not travelling to school should not use them, while other buses on the routes that are reserved for the general public will have red signs to differentiate them and let pupils know not to board them.

Among the routes to get school buses are the 25, which runs from Holborn to Ilford via Mile End and Stratford and the 5, which runs from Romford to Canning Town via Barking.

The 145, from Dagenham to Leytonstone via Ilford and Wanstead, the 147 from Ilford to Canning Town and the 86 from Stratford to Romford via Ilford are also on the list of bus routes.

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Government guidance allows for social distancing requirements to be relaxed on school bus services so all available seats can be occupied.

Children aged 11 and over must wear face coverings on these buses, unless they are exempt, in line with public transport requirements. Those who are exempt are advised to carry an exemption card to present if challenged.

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All buses will be thoroughly cleaned and passengers on both school services and regular services are advised to carry hand sanitiser with them to use when travelling.

Transport for London said that before the pandemic, around 250,000 school children used the capital’s buses to get to and from school on a daily basis.

Pupils and parents are encouraged to use other methods of transport to get to school if possible, such as walking, scooting and cycling, in order to keep the buses free for those who have no other choice.

It added that there will be no change to fares and ticketing for children in September, with a start date not being set for the suspension of free under-18 travel requested by the government as part of a funding agreement.

The school services are set to run between 7.30am and 9.30am and again between 2.30pm and 4.30pm weekdays during term time.

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