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  • New restrictions on free travel for older people will come into force on 15th June and will apply to the morning peak only.
  • "Touching in" is to be reintroduced across all bus routes. The maximum number of passengers per bus will be 20 (double deck), 10 (larger single deck), or 6 (smaller single deck).
  • All passengers are reminded to only use public transport if absolutely essential and maintain two metres social distancing wherever possible.

Temporary suspension of Freedom Pass and 60+ Oystercard during morning peak

The London Councils website has provided an update and clarification about changes to the validity of Older Person’s Freedom Passes, 60+ Oyster photocards or English National Concessionary Scheme bus passes. The changes, being made at the behest of central government, come into effect on 15th June.

Changes to the ticketing system will mean these cards are automatically set not to be valid during the morning peak period (0430 to 0900) Monday to Friday. They will continue to be valid at all other times on weekdays and all day on weekends and Bank Holidays.

Passengers with a Disabled Freedom Pass are unaffected and will, as usual, still be able to travel at all times using their Pass if they have to use public transport for their journey.

Passengers are being advised, where possible, not to travel immediately after 0900 to help reduce potential crowding on buses and trains where effective capacity has been hugely reduced as a result of the requirement to observe two-metres social distancing wherever possible.

For more details and information about the background to the changes, see the London Councils website.

NB There is no change regarding use of Freedom Passes and 60+ Oystercards on National Rail services - they become valid at 09:30 (not 09:00, which applies to TfL services - tube, buses, Overground, trams).

Buses: Front-door boarding, touching in, and reduced capacities

Passengers are now required to touch in with either Oyster, contactless or concessionary cards on some 120 or so routes, in most cases using the front doors. Front-door boarding (and the requirement to touch in) will be gradually extended to all routes, probably by mid-June.

Bus capacities are being reduced to aid social distancing:

  • Double-decker buses with multiple doors will have a capacity of 20 people. Drivers will have the discretion to allow up to 25 passengers, if households are travelling together 
  • Single-decker buses will have a capacity of between 6 and 10 people. Drivers will have the discretion to allow up to 7 or up to 14 passengers if households are travelling together, depending on the size of the bus.

Email update from Transport for London

From Saturday 30 May, 124 London bus routes will return to front-door boarding, and customers will be required to touch in with either Oyster, contactless or concessionary cards. Front door boarding will be reinstated on further bus routes as soon as possible, and it is anticipated that all London buses will have returned to front-door boarding by mid-June. You can check for updates on our website.

This change follows extensive work by a multidisciplinary team from University College of London (UCL), and close work between TfL, bus operators and the UNITE union. The UCL analysis finds that the steps that we have taken substantially reduces the risk to drivers of contracting coronavirus from customers.

Going back to pre-pandemic boarding will improve social distancing for customers entering or exiting the bus, and while queuing at stops or stations, as well as giving us accurate information to ensure we are providing the service needed to enable safe travel for all.

To further ensure the safety of everyone, new limits to the number of customers on board at any one time will be introduced. Please continue to make use of all available space, including the upper deck. You may need to wait for the next bus if the bus you are attempting to board has reached its safe capacity. We ask you to be considerate of our staff and follow their instructions. Wherever possible please avoid the busy times, 05.45 – 8.15 and 16.00 – 17.30.

In line with Government advice, everyone who can work from home should continue to do so. Please continue to avoid public transport, where possible, to free up the limited space available to those who have no alternative way to travel.

If you must travel, consider walking or cycling part of your journey, or getting off a stop or two early to reduce the numbers of people travelling.To ensure safer journeys for everyone, we are continuing to take measures across our network to enable social distancing of 2 metres, where possible. When using our services please wear a face covering and respect the space of fellow passengers.Thank you again for all your help as we work together to keep everyone safe.Yours sincerely,

Claire Mann
Director of Bus Operations

Links

Changes to the Freedom Pass scheme due to coronavirus

Freedom Pass information on TfL website

60+ Oyster Photocard information on TfL website

Bus service changes

Walking and cycling improvements - Streetspace for London

Note: This article was updated on 4th June to clarify information about morning peak hours.

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Neil Littman's Avatar
Neil Littman posted a reply #5365 04 Jun 2020 09:18
Hi, A small correction to the article about the new restrictions on the Freedom Pass. The morning peak ends at 9.30am and not 9.00am. You can verify this on the TfL website. Also there has always been a restriction on commuters using the Great Northern lines into town before 9.30am as this counts as part of the British Rail network rather than the overground. There was talk of restrictions during the evening peak times from 4.30-7pm but this does not appear to be happening possibly for technical reasons.
PGC Webmaster's Avatar
PGC Webmaster posted a reply #5366 04 Jun 2020 14:41

Neil Littman wrote: Hi, A small correction to the article about the new restrictions on the Freedom Pass. The morning peak ends at 9.30am and not 9.00am. You can verify this on the TfL website. Also there has always been a restriction on commuters using the Great Northern lines into town before 9.30am as this counts as part of the British Rail network rather than the overground. There was talk of restrictions during the evening peak times from 4.30-7pm but this does not appear to be happening possibly for technical reasons.


It's definitely 9.00am on TfL services, while staying 9.30am on "National Rail" services, such as Great Northern.

For the 60+ Oystercard see tfl.gov.uk/fares/free-and-discounted-travel/60-plus-oyster-photocard :

"From Monday 15 June, we're changing the hours you can travel to reduce crowding on our services and help social distancing. You will only be able to travel from 09:00, Monday to Friday. You can still travel any time on weekends and bank holidays"

For the Freedom Pass see tfl.gov.uk/fares/free-and-discounted-travel/freedom-pass :

"From Monday 15 June, we're changing the hours you can travel with your Older Person's Freedom Pass to reduce crowding on our services and help social distancing.

"You will only be able to travel on our services from 09:00, Monday to Friday. You can still travel at any time on weekends and bank holidays.

"If you have a Disabled Person's Freedom Pass, you can still travel at any time on our services.

"National Rail services in London, travel free after 9:30 weekdays, and any time on weekends and public holidays."

Changing the subject, what has become of the Enfield Transport Users Group (ETUG)? I used to be sent agendas and minutes to share on the website. Has it now become a private discussion forum or are the minutes available somewhere?