Travel tips for a seamless return to school and work

With schools returning this week and many offices and workplaces moving towards staff coming back over the coming months, Tube usage is back to half of normal demand and bus numbers are two thirds of what they were in pre-pandemic times.  

Welcoming the return to normality, Andy Byford, London’s Transport Commissioner said: “Going back to school and the workplace this September after a period away may take some getting used to for many.  

“We’re reassuring Londoners that we’re ready to take you where you need to get to, with a full service, a thorough cleaning regime and good ventilation to keep everyone safe, an increasing number of walking and cycling routes and tools such as TfL Go to help you plan your journey in real time.” 

To smooth your path, Transport for London (TfL) has issued some useful advice to students and commuters on how best to travel comfortably and reliably: 

– A full bus service is up and running across London, with school day-only routes – those generally numbered 600-699 – running as they did in the previous academic term.  

– The School Streets programme continues to restrict vehicle access outside schools during drop-off and pick-up times in more than 350 locations, making active journeys to school safer and easier and helping to tackle children’s exposure to air pollution. 

– Parents are reminded to check their children’s Zip cards are in date so that they can continue to pay less for their travel. If needed, parents can renew the card, or apply for one for children turning 11, on the TfL website. Any existing pay as you go credit will usually be transferred to the new photocard.  

– Buses have been modified to keep windows propped open and fitted with a range of air extraction and ventilation systems to ensure that fresh air circulates throughout the vehicle.  

– Bus capacity has returned to normal pre-pandemic levels and customers should take the first available bus and make use of all available seats and space: standing is now permitted again. 

– Face coverings remain a requirement on all services for anyone aged 11 and over, unless they are exempt. Those who don’t comply risk being turned away from the network. TfL’s 400 enforcement officers patrol the network and failure to comply could result in being turned away from services. 

– As commuter numbers return to normal levels, TfL is advising people to plan their journeys ahead and aim to travel at quieter times. These are currently between 8.15am and 4pm and after 5.30pm on weekdays, and before noon and after 6pm on weekends. 

– Those who can walk or cycle all or part of their journeys are encouraged to and a range of new infrastructure across London is making it easier than ever to walk and cycle. TfL continues to work closely with local boroughs to ensure there is enough space for walking and cycling as London recovers. 

– TfL has also partnered with Micro Scooters on a year-long partnership focussed around the STARS programme, designed to encourage families to consider active modes of transport on the school run. Uniformed officers will be on the network to keep young people safe and provide visible reassurance.