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Travel to school in September - how to manage London public transport?(20 Posts)
Government advice is to avoid public transport if possible. Social distancing especially in confined indoor spaces is here to stay until vaccine/effective treatment. It looks likely to be the same (if not worse ie second spike) in September. How will pupils and staff in London travel to school?
I wonder what the London independent schools with significant proportion of pupils and staff using the tube (City, Westminster, Hammersmith schools) are planning to do for September?
It's going to be interesting. DS will be going to secondary and it's 35 min walk, so walking home could be the best option, but going there is up a steep hill and takes longer - but there's a bus for most of it. At 8am the bus will mainly be schoolkids that he'll be mixing with anyway. Though if DH and I are both still working from home, I suppose we could drive him to the top of the hill and let him out (driving to the school would make it very awkward to turn round and there's nowhere to park), then take dc2 to primary.
DD has a 50 minute train journey and then a tube journey to get to primary... Y6 so we will be trying it out in mid-June when her class starts back.
Secondary she has the 50 minute train and then another 15 minute train. No alternative routes, and driving not an option.
Will be interesting to see. So far, it appears that you may need advance seat reservations for trains (that should be interesting on our line and train... busiest in Britain).
TfL is also suspending free travel for under 18s so I expect that will reduce the number that travel to school. My DCs will both be able to walk to school instead of catching a bus. They won't appreciate it, particularly on days they have PE kits and musical instruments to carry but they'll survive. It makes me extra glad that DC1 didn't accept the grammar school place as that would have been more of a headache.
I think free travel will be reinstated once all year groups are back in school in (hopefully) Sept
@AveEldon the TfL press release I saw said 4.5 months to begin with - that's the end of September if it was implemented immediately.
Do you have a link to the press release?
The one I found tfl.gov.uk/info-for/media/press-releases/2020/may/tube-rail-and-bus-services-stepped-up-for-people-who-have-to-use-public-transport
"There will also be a suspension of free travel for under 18s, although special arrangements will be made to ensure children eligible under national legislation can still travel to school for free. These changes will take place soon as practicable. Advance notice will be given before these changes are brought in."
Ave I am certainly no expert, but I would read that to mean that children who are eligible for school transport because the nearest school they could get a place at was over 3 miles (over-simplified) would have arrangements made. I.e. the kids that in other areas of the country would be being given a buss pass or put in taxis.
I would imagine that that is a fairly small proportion of the number of children who use public transport to get to school on TfL services.
It won’t particularly affect children at independent schools more than those at state schools. Many/most children in general use public transport to get to school, a mixture of tubes, buses, trains. I don’t know anyone who just walked to school.
Agree with @daisypond that most schools in London have pupils traveling on public transport. Those schools in Central London will particularly be affected because not only pupils but a majority of staff also travel by public transport.
Can't imagine schools will have mixed economy of some attending in person (if going to school by other means than public transport) and some learning online. Certainly schools will have to decide in the next month what to do in September.
This is the press release @SE13Mummy mentioned
4.5 months until TfL runs out of money again
Secondary students are far more likely than than primary students to use TfL. Around London, this will affect independent secondaries more than state secondaries as most independent schools effectively have larger catchment areas than state secondaries, more of which are local or neighborhood schools.
This is something that I have been worrying about. My dd gets a bus to her school. It’s too far to walk and cycling is not an option for her for lots of reasons. I can’t drive her. This is central London and her bus usually gets very crowded. Even leaving aside any concerns about her health, the reality is that if there are new measures put in place to allow a degree of social distancing (I.e.fewer people allowed to get on the bus) then she will never be able to get on a bus as so many other people get on much earlier stops. So she could be left standing there for an hour with buses going past but no one stopping at her bus stop.
most independent schools effectively have larger catchment areas than state secondaries, more of which are local or neighborhood schools.
While that has logical sense, in reality I don’t think it’s true. Children at independents are more likely to be driven to school, especially in the early secondary years. Also, there is often no such thing as a neighbourhood school in many areas of London, due to the complicated admissions systems, and children might have to travel some distance. And even if the school is relatively close, most children will get a bus for even a few stops - as it’s free, so easy to jump on and off with ease.
@blissful201 thank you! I couldn't remember where I'd seen it in the first place but remember my heart sinking as I read it. So many of the Y6s I work with struggle with transition to Y7 and too many end up out of school before the year is up. With the bus suddenly not being free, I can honestly imagine a scenario where a number of them will not even start Y7 now because the families won't be able to spare money for bus fares on top of uniform, stationery, shoes etc.
Department of Transport stats show that (for 2017/18), 52% of trips to/from school for 5-16 year olds were walking. Its quite a bit smaller for secondary school though - around 30%, but not insignificant, with bus being about 40% Average trip length for all journeys was 3 miles, so walkable for many but of course that's an average, so many will be longer.
I’m also concerned about the situation come Sept. We’re in Birmingham so the free transport issue doesn’t apply (unfortunately we’ve always had to pay!) but I’m worried about availability of buses and trains, quite apart from safety.
Ds to school 9 miles away on a bus that’s usually very regular and very crowded. I would drive him in if need be - especially if it’s only part time - although that will take two hours out of my working day!
However we also have dd to consider, moving to sixth form. Of her three options, one is definitely not drivable as it’s a long way - but it’s only 40 mins on the train. Do we risk it though? The others are potentially drivable but both are in completely the opposite direction to ds’ school and we only have one car! The plan for both was to get the bus.
I’m worried about this - dd1’s school is 7m away on a route that is not safe to cycle. I work and can’t drive her in, even if I could change my start / finish times it would take hours due to traffic. She has the option of tube or train, but I can’t imagine she’ll get on to either in time to get to school if they continue the current rules. I’m really worried...
Also, daisypond has a different experience to me. All my dd’s friends (Y7 at inde London day) took public transport pre lockdown - no one was dropped off by a parent that I know of.
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