From Monday, Londoners can travel on buses for free but will have to board through the middle—not front—door, as part of new measures introduced by the capital’s transport authority to protect drivers against the risk of coronavirus after at least 18 london transport workers have died.
Passengers will no longer have to touch their card on the reader from Monday as part of the temporary measures.
This means passengers, who are likely to be essential workers as most people must work from home, could save up to £4.50 ($5.62) a day on bus fares.
The latest measure follows a trial by Transport for London on 140 buses across nine routes, and is not being expanded to the citywide network.
So far, TfL has reduced the number of underground services, but has kept services running for the benefit of critical workers who rely on the transport network.
Claire Mann, TfL’s director of bus operations, said: “Bus drivers are pivotal in ensuring critical workers like NHS staff and grocery workers can perform the vital roles they do during this national emergency.”
“Their efforts are nothing short of heroic, and it is essential that we leave no stone unturned when looking to protect them.”
Passenger numbers on London’s bus network have fallen 85% since TfL urged that only essential journeys should be made.
The measures, introduced on Friday, come as at least 18 bus drivers and transport workers have died in London after contracting coronavirus.
The U.K. remains on lockdown for at least the next three weeks, after restrictions were extended on Thursday.
In New York City, at least 41 transit workers have died after contracting coronavirus, while 6,000 workers have fallen ill or are self-isolating, the New York Times reported.