Workers of England Union Supports the Transport for London Initiative to tackle rough sleepers on the London bus network
Recent media coverage has highlighted the issue of rough sleepers using the night bus network in the capital and Transport for London recently co-ordinated a multi-agency operation to help give advice and support in Westminster and Redbridge.
The aim of the operation was to engage with any rough sleepers, particularly on route 25, and to encourage bus drivers to report all instances of rough sleeping on their buses. The locations of Holles Street in Westminster and Hainault Street in Redbridge were specifically chosen for the operation based on intelligence gathered by TfL which suggested the route 25 at both end-of-line locations were the busiest in terms of rough sleepers frequenting the bus network.
Staff from Thames Reach – a London-based charity helping homeless and vulnerable people – provided sleepers with support from local services, as well as possible shelter on a temporary basis with advice given for more long term solutions.
TfL revenue protection staff took part in the operation to build a picture of how rough sleepers are travelling on buses, what type of ticket they are using, where they have travelled from and if there was any fare evasion taking place.
In total staff boarded 150 buses in Redbridge and Westminster and 28 rough sleepers were identified. The majority of them engaged with Thames Reach workers. All of the rough sleepers who were assisted during the course of this operation held valid tickets for travel and were not fare dodgers.
The operation was a real success and through it we’ve learned a lot about the scale of rough sleeping on the bus network,” says Lee Vehit, TfL network operations manager. “This will help us support bus drivers and rough sleepers alike moving forward.”
Further operations to assist rough sleepers on the bus network are planned for the near future in different parts of London.
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