TfL extends middle door boarding across network
Transport for London is extending middle door boarding across most of its bus network from next Monday as an additional measure to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Following trials on 140 buses operated out of the Abellio garage in Walworth, south-east London on nine routes, TfL says it is confident that the low numbers of people currently using its services can keep a safe distance when entering and exiting through the same door of a two-door bus.
It says the middle door arrangement will provide better protection for drivers and for critical workers using London’s buses. Passengers will not be required to touch in with Oyster and contactless bank cards when boarding and are being told not to approach the card reader next to the driver’s cab.
Welcoming the move, mayor of London Sadiq Khan says: “This will further protect drivers and follows on from enhancing the anti-viral cleaning regime across the network, adding a new protective film to the screens of drivers’ cabs and preventing passengers sitting next to bus drivers.”
Trade union Unite’s London & Eastrern regional secretary, Pete Kavanagh, says: “This is a very welcome move and we are very relieved that TfL is listening to Unite and its members. We have lost members of our bus family in recent days and we refuse to lose any more. Unite has been asking for central boarding as an essential safety measure during these times because bus workers are, understandably, fearful for their health. It is reassuring that the mayor and TfL have listened and acted now to protect this workforce.
“We have 20,000 bus workers across the capital. They have lost colleagues and friends in recent weeks. They need to see all the support that they can muster from the mayor, the employers and TfL so that they can assure their loved ones that they are being kept safe at work.”
TfL says it is exploring what more can be done to create a completely sealed partition between drivers and passengers that allows for both communication and ventilation. It has also intyroduced a rigorous cleaning regime to kill the virus across all of its public transport services, deploying new anti-viral fluid in bus garages, on buses including the driver’s cab.
A few TfL bus routes are operated using smaller single-door vehicles.
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