Bus capacity is set to double on board London buses as TfL prepares for an influx of returning passengers in line with the latest easing of lockdown next week.
Transport for London says it is “looking forward to welcoming customers back” as more leisure options reopen on May 17, and has a ‘near-normal’ level of service ready to meet them.
Currently, TfL is running around 8,000 buses each day, and after consultation with the Department for Transport, TfL say that on May 17 the capacity on board buses will double.
Whilst large proportions of seats were previously unavailable to ensure social distancing, from Monday most seats on London buses will be available to be used.
This will double the capacity of buses, and double-decker buses will see capacity increase to around 60 people.
However, the rear-facing seats in bays will continue to be blocked off due to an enhanced risk of infection.
TfL says this change will enable more people to travel on the bus network as Government restrictions continue to ease, “ready to help customers enjoy make the most of the increased leisure activities available from May 17, including the reopening of museums, other cultural attractions and indoor dining.
Travel Ambassadors in magenta tabards will also be on hand at key locations to welcome people back to the transport network, whilst one-way systems, social distancing and extensive signage will remain.
Andy Byford, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: “Like many, I cannot wait to meet friends and family in London’s pubs and restaurants, or to head to a stadium or theatre to experience live entertainment with others.
“These are some of the things that make London great, and our public transport enables everyone to experience them.
“We are looking forward to welcoming customers back to our network, and are operating near-normal levels of service to support social distancing.
“We’re ensuring public transport is cleaner than ever with staff on hand to offer advice, assist and help keep everyone safe. And we’re advising customers to travel at the quieter times if they can to spread demand across the day.”
TfL says that its enhanced cleaning regime are continuing in full, with hospital-grade cleaning substances used on trains, trams, buses and stations, and masks continuing to be mandatory.
More than 1,000 hand sanitisers and 200 UV light devices have been installed, and monthly tests have found no traces or air samples of coronavirus.
The network is also well ventilated, with train and bus doors opening frequently, plus other modifications to ensure the flow of fresh air.
TfL is also encouraging customers to make journeys at quieter times to help spread out demand across the day.
Quieter times are currently between 8:15am and 4pm, after 5:30pm on a weekday and before noon and after 6pm on weekends.
The introduction of new May rail timetables will see some minor changes to train times on TfL Rail, London Overground and Bakerloo line services, and customers who use these services are advised to check before they travel.