Travel guidance for schools
Our changes to London's bus network
Around 250,000 schoolchildren use London's buses to get to and from school. So, from 1 September until the end of October 2020 we're adding over 200 extra buses to the network - across low frequency routes and existing school routes.
We're also prioritising some of our bus services for school travel. Government guidance allows for all seats to be occupied on these 'school services', doubling their capacity, which is currently limited due to necessary social distancing.
These 'school services' will be clearly signed and are planned to operate on:
- All our existing school services
- Every other bus on key routes from 07:30-09:00 and 14:30-16:30 on weekdays
- Some additional buses on less frequent routes
We ask that schoolchildren travelling without adults travel on the designated school services where these are provided, in order to help ensure space for customers on other services. Customers must also wear face coverings unless exempt for age (under 11 years), health or equality reasons - including on the 'school services'.
By doing all of this we will help increase capacity and free up other buses for other customers including your staff, and also help enable London's young people to make safe and reliable journeys to and from school.
A reminder that Zip Oyster Photocards are still valid for all schoolchildren and that free and discounted travel entitlements haven't changed. Please note that if children move between 11-15 and 16+ cards they will still need to register for the next card.
These planned measures could be subject to change. We will continually review how our network is operating to ensure our approach is working and meeting demand as best as possible. Check this page regularly for the latest information on our services and safer travel guidance.
See our resources to help enable and encourage children and parents to walk, cycle or scoot to and from school. These A3 posters can be printed out and displayed on school property.
Our support for students
To support children navigating their journey back to school we've created this helpful video:
How you can help
- If many of your students come to school by bus, consider staggering your start and finish times to take the pressure off peak travel times across London (05:45-09:00 and 15:00-17:30). This is particularly the case in outer London because schools have many different classroom groups and large catchment areas so bus demand is highest
- Primary schools - stagger overlaps with secondary school children to help take the pressure off peak travel times (05:45-09:00 and 15:00-17:30)
- The wider the stagger between groups (e.g. by the equivalent of a lesson), the less pressure is placed on the transport network
- Please encourage your students, parents/carers and staff to walk, cycle or scoot to school wherever possible. There are a host of helpful resources available on this page to aid you
- Check the Government's official guidance for more details
- For general travel advice, visit our dedicated coronavirus webpages
Use our new STARS Safer Journey Planner
Our new STARS Safer Journey Planner will help students and parents/carers plan their journeys and provide useful advice on walking, cycling and scooting to school safely.
Watch this video for more travel information for children getting ready to start secondary school in September.
Make the most of Streetspace for London
Along with London's boroughs and the City of London, we are creating more space for people to safely walk or cycle as our city emerges from the coronavirus lockdown. Temporary cycle lanes and wider pavements are among the changes we're making. Please encourage parents, carers and students to use local Streetspace for London schemes when travelling to school.
Take part in our online Cycle Skills course
Take our new online Cycle Skills course - aimed at both those cycling for the first time, or those wishing to refresh their skills. Modules include cycle safety for young people as well as tips on getting you and your bike prepared for the road.
Participate in STARS
Your school may be participating in STARS. This is TfL's community project to inspire young Londoners at over 1,500 schools, nurseries and colleges to travel sustainably, actively, responsibly and safely by championing walking, scooting and cycling.