London buses to resume front-door boarding on 124 routes from tomorrow

London buses will resume front-door boarding on 124 routes from tomorrow with a limit of 20 passengers per double-decker and drivers sealed in for their safety after 26 of the capital’s transport workers died of coronavirus

  • Front door boarding returns on 124 routes with customers required to touch in 
  • Process had been abandoned on April 20 amid concerns over Covid-19 deaths
  • But front door boarding can resume after scientists found risk had been reduced
  • New safety measures include adding a film layer to screens and sealing off gaps
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

London’s buses will resume front door boarding from tomorrow after bosses brought in new safety measures aimed at minimising the coronavirus risk to drivers.

Front door boarding will be reinstated on 124 bus routes, with customers required to touch in using their Oyster, contactless or concessionary cards.

The process was abandoned by chiefs at Transport for London on April 20 amid concerns that 26 bus workers in the capital had died from Covid-19.

People board a London bus using the middle door last Saturday. From tomorrow, front door boarding will be reinstated on 124 bus routes, with customers required to touch in

People wait at Canary Wharf in East London for the D8 bus towards Stratford yesterday

But University College London analysis has suggested that safety and hygiene improvements made by TfL has made it possible for front door boarding to resume by substantially reducing the risk to drivers of contracting the virus from customers.

The measures include adding a film layer to screens and sealing off gaps around the screen as a whole, along with a rigorous cleaning regime which sees cabs, handrails and other regularly touched areas treated with hospital-grade anti-viral disinfectant.

Measures to reduce Covid-19 risk to bus drivers and passengers

  • Film layer to screens and sealing off gaps around the screen as a whole
  • Rigorous cleaning regime for cabs, handrails and other regularly touched areas 
  • These ares are treated with hospital-grade anti-viral disinfectant
  • Hand sanitiser dispensers installed at bus stations and on Tube station platforms


TfL anticipates all London buses will have returned to front door boarding by mid-June, and will limit capacity to ensure compliance with social-distancing guidelines.

Double-decker buses will be able to carry 20 customers while single-decker buses can carry between six and 10 customers.

Drivers will have the discretion to allow more customers on board if they are travelling in households or groups.

Passengers are being asked to avoid non-essential use of public transport despite lockdown restrictions being eased to enable social distancing. 

Deputy Mayor for Transport Heidi Alexander said the new measures are essential to protecting the health and safety of transport workers and passengers.

She said: ‘Scientific advice has confirmed that it is safe for front door boarding to resume on these buses thanks to these improvements.

A bus is deep cleaned with anti-bacterial wipes at Camberwell Abellio bus garage on May 18

A man hails a bus at Haringey in North London on May 19 as the coronavirus crisis continues

‘Our message to Londoners is clear though – please work from home and travel on foot or bike if you can. Public transport is a precious resource that should be preserved for those who need it.

Ex-New York city subway boss dubbed ‘the Train Daddy’ is TfL’s new £335,000-a-year transport boss

Andy Byford

A former head of New York’s public transport system dubbed the ‘Train Daddy’ will be London ‘s next transport commissioner.

Andy Byford, 54, was responsible in New York for 50,000 staff and devising a £33 billion five-year investment plan to renew the city’s transport system.

He will start in his new £335,000-a-year role on June 29, taking over from Mike Brown who will stay on until July 10 before taking up a new position overseeing the renovation of the Palace of Westminster.

The former president and chief executive of New York City Transit Authority left the role in January under a cloud following repeated clashes with Governor Andrew Cuomo.

He was said to have had frequent spats with Mr Cuomo throughout his two-year tenure, despite being considered a rising star in the industry. 

‘But if you absolutely have to travel on our network, wear a face mask, avoid the busiest times and respect the new arrangements to enable everyone to travel safely.’

The move has also received support from the trade union Unite.

Unite officer for London buses John Murphy said: ‘Bus workers have tragically lost their lives during this pandemic and our determination is to make sure that no other family endures this heartache.

‘Unite has been working closely with experts at UCL, TfL and London bus operators to ensure that the return to front door loading does not adversely affect driver safety.

‘Unite will continue to lobby and work with employers and TfL to ensure that all bus workers are full protected at work and that passengers and the wider public are cared for.’

TfL has introduced a ‘rigorous cleaning regime’ across all its services, including buses and Tube trains.

This includes anti-viral fluid being sprayed inside areas used by passengers, and hand sanitiser dispensers being installed at bus stations and on Tube station platforms.

Until last Saturday, passengers had not needed to present their payment card since April 20 in a bid to boost the safety of drivers.

But the Government required TfL to resume the collection of bus fares as part of the £1.6billion bailout agreed two weeks ago.

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