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The Red Tour Buses of London are now the Perfect Pandemic Commute

The Red Tour Buses of London are now the Perfect Pandemic Commute
The Original Tour has been in service since 1951, Photo Credit: e X p o s e / Shutterstock.com
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Londoners are hopping aboard these roofless red buses to travel to work instead of taking the tube

Vishnu Mohan
August 10 , 2020
02 Min Read

As the world eases into the ‘new normal’, regular commutes to work becomes an issue due to the chances of infection. A company in London has come up with an alternative. As return-to-work gets underway, Londoners are being urged to use open-top sightseeing buses for commuting.

London's on-demand bus tour operator, Snap, is transforming the city’s 200-strong fleet of roofless tourist buses into daily commute options as a solution for office-goers who are reluctant to take the tube. The company is currently running a free trial service between Walthamstow in northeast London and the centre of the capital, with forthcoming routes dependent on demand.

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It's a good alternative to the closed and cramped spaces of the tube because studies have found that good ventilation and air flow cuts down chances of infection drastically.

The company came up with the idea as these open-top ‘Original Tour’ buses that usually ferry round the capital’s sightseeing hotspots were sitting idle, due to lack of tourists. Now, they will operate on selected routes daily, connecting popular transport hubs.

Earlier, the city administration had planned to reduce use of buses and the tube by over 85 per cent to curb the virus, which appears to have been achieved. Car use in the city, however, is down by around 20 per cent only, authorities plan to bring it further down.

Apart from the trial service line being used now, there is no set route for the sightseeing buses. Instead, prospective passengers can register their home and work destinations on the company’s website. As soon as at least 20 people are making the same journey, a bus route will be drawn connecting the same. This way, the company plans to establish hubs at each end of a popular line.

Fares will depend directly on the number of travellers making the same journey. A live tracking app would be used onboard to give commuters visibility of their bus’s location and expected arrival time, along with enabling contact tracing should a passenger test positive for coronavirus.

Snap estimates that it will provide services to around 30,000 commuters to travel to work. 


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