Travelling to school and college
With strict national social distancing measures in place, the way pupils travel to and from school or college has changed to keep them, and others, safe.
- Consider whether you can walk, cycle or scoot to school.
- The general public transport network is available for journeys to most schools for pupils who don't have alternative travel options.
- We're asking parents and pupils to plan their journeys in advance and allow additional time as it may take longer to travel.
- Parents should contact their school about home to school travel if these changes mean their child can't make the journey and, where possible, we'll support schools to look at the options available.
- Temporary public transport timetables are still in place on the general public transport network. You can find the latest service information on our Service Changes page or by calling Traveline on 01709 515151.
You must wear a face covering on public transport to maintain a safer environment and prevent spreading the virus - you could be refused entry if you are not.
You should also wear a face covering in other enclosed spaces where it is difficult to maintain social distancing. For example, at stations or interchanges.
Children under 11 don't need to wear a face covering and exemptions will apply to some passengers due to health conditions or disabilities. This includes people who have breathing difficulties and other respiratory conditions, visual impairments or mental health conditions. You can find a list of exemptions on the Gov.uk website exemptions page.
School bus service changes
Walk, cycle or scoot to school or college
In the past, one in four cars on the road during the morning rush hour were doing the school run. And with public transport being recommended for essential key worker journeys only, as we see some children return to school, this could be set to increase. But it doesn't have to.
If you can, why not walk, cycle or scoot to school? There are lots of benefits.
According to government guidelines, children and young people aged 5 to 18 need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. It's the perfect way to squeeze in more activity and you can keep a safe distance. Adults should get a minimum of 150 minutes a week. At 1.6 miles, the average primary school journey can be safely cycled, scooted or walked.
Up to 40,000 early deaths are attributable to air pollution each year in the UK. Ditching the car and walking, or getting onto your bike or scooter is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. It will reduce congestion and pollution around the school gates.
Teachers find that pupils who walk, cycle or scoot arrive at school more relaxed and ready to start the day than those who travel by car. Physical activity is good for mental health, mood and self-esteem too.
It’s a good opportunity to extend the school day if children are on reduced timetables. Walking, cycling and scooting together, looking at nature and season changes can help with learning about the environment we live in.
Starting children cycling, scooting or walking more journeys from a young age develops road awareness which encourages independent travel as a teenager. It can also set them up for a more active adult life. It increases children’s road safety awareness.
Cycling, scooting or walking the school run will save you and your family money fuelling your car. You’ll save money.
Social distancing measures
Social distancing measures mean it's likely that buses will reach capacity quickly, so pupils waiting at bus stops may see buses drive past with ‘Bus Full’ signs on their destination screens.
Sit apart from others on buses, trams and trains. Seats will be marked as available onboard to help you distance. When buses have reached capacity, drivers will only pull up at stops to let a passenger get on if a passenger needs to get off. A strict ‘one-off, one-on’ policy will be in place, so pupils should allow extra time for their journey and be prepared to wait.
Public transport staff are not able to enforce social distancing on board and we expect pupils to be considerate, wear a face covering and distance themselves from others wherever possible.
Most buses will display signs showing the maximum number of passengers they can carry at any one time, and posters on board will give pupils instructions about where to sit, for example in a window seat, and leaving an empty row of seats in front and behind. Standing is not allowed on board.
You can find more about social distancing and face coverings on our Coronavirus page.