By banning entry on middle and back doors of new Routemasters, are you hitting people with disabilities, senior citizens and those with toddlers? Why has there been no public consultation on this blunt measure?
The change to boarding arrangements has brought New Routemasters in line with other London buses, most of which board only at the front door. As front door boarding is by far the most usual way to board a bus in London, Transport for London (TfL) did not publicly consult on something that was already common practice.
Users who require the middle door can continue to use the middle door when required, and will no longer need to share this entry with other customers.
The main reason for making this change is to reduce fare evasion. Recent fare evasion rates on New Routemasters were an average of 5.4 per cent, compared to 1.6 per cent on two-door buses, and TfL estimates that more than £3.6m of revenue that could have been invested in transport was being lost each year through New Routemaster fare evasion. A pilot trial on route 8 from August 2019 confirmed switching to front door boarding led to a big drop in fare evasion, without significantly affecting the route’s reliability. This trial also attracted a positive reaction from customers, who were pleased that fare evasion was being tackled.