Information and advice to help coach drivers and group travel organisers negotiate the streets of London

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To help group travel organisers and coach drivers plan their trip to London, Transport for London has an in-depth website, packed with advice and information – visit www.tfl.gov.uk and click on the ‘information for coach drivers’ tab.

In addition to practical help, the site is home to a detailed coach parking map ­- which you’ll also find on page 18 of this guide – has up to date information on delays and roadworks, as well as details of the city’s emission zones and congestion charges. Did you know, for example, that vehicles classed as a bus, but not registered with the DVSA, including foreign and Northern Ireland vehicles, need to register with Transport for London for a 100 per cent discount? Find out more at www.cclondon.com/exemptions

Transport for London also has a helpline offering advice on parking and driver facilities throughout central London. Call 0845 604 0770.

Tips for safe and legal coach parking in London

Transport for London’s website www.tfl.gov.uk has the following advice for coach drivers entering the capital:

  • Plan your trip to London in advance, not on the day
  • Different visitor attractions in London have different parking rules, so drivers should familiarise themselves with arrangements for parking at popular sites and places of interest before the day. A number of places – including Madame Tussauds, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Tate Modern and the Natural History Museum – have 20-minute set down and pick up bays either outside or nearby. More details can be found on Transport for London’s interactive coach parking map (see the website for details – www.tfl.gov.uk/info-for/coach-drivers/)
  • Don’t disturb residents, and always switch off your engine when the coach is parked
  • Don’t obstruct other traffic with your coach
  • Don’t enter coach ban areas unless access is permitted and you need to serve a property in the area
  • Don’t park overnight on-street unless it is permitted
  • Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) should be paid or disputed according to the instructions on the back of the PCN
  • When picking up ensure your group is waiting for you
  • Don’t wait or park on clearways
  • Don’t arrive early to load, or remain parked after unloading
  • Don’t park or wait at bus stops
  • Stay in contact with your group to ensure they are ready to be picked up on time. Any instructions from guides and tour operators, etc to arrive early should be refused
  • Stay with your vehicle at all times. It is not the driver’s job to book passengers into hotels or carry luggage
  • Pick up and set down is permitted on double and single yellow lines. However, activity must be taking place. Some London boroughs allow an observation time – though this does not apply when loading restrictions are in force
  • When driving on red routes, remember that double red lines mean no stopping at any time; single red lines mean no stopping during restricted hours; and vehicles registered as a bus can use red route bus stops, but must not park or wait
  • For more information, download Transport for London’s guidance for drivers, tour operators, tour guides, group organisers, tour managers and couriers guide via the TfL website


Parking on London’s piers

Turn to page 18 for a guide to coach parking in the capital – which includes details of the parking facilities on offer at central London piers, from London Bridge City Pier to Embankment Pier.

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Planning where to park

Our map on page 18 has details of short- and medium-term coach bays to help you plan your drop off and pick up routes. In addition to this, there are a number of pay-by-phone and coach meters, where you can park for up to four hours (see Transport for London’s guide to Operating Coaches in London for more on this at www.tfl.gov.uk/cdn/static/cms/documents/operating-coaches-in-london.pdf).

In most areas of the capital you can’t park on the street between 18:30 and 08:00, unless you’re in a coach bay during operational hours. If you need to park for longer periods or overnight, you’ll need to use privately operated off-street coach parks. For details go to tfl.gov.uk/coachdrivers or call the Transport for London helpline on 0845 604 0770.

Have permit, will travel…

Check before you travel whether a permit’s required for any section of the journey. Details of all restricted areas can be found on Transport for London’s website.

As a quick guide, bear in mind that commercial vehicles, including buses and coaches, need a permit to park near Buckingham Palace, and only single-deck vehicles are allowed (visit www.royalparks.org.uk for more information). While free coach permits are available from Merlin Entertainments Group for its London attractions, including the London Eye and the London Dungeon (call 0871 282 9280 for more information).

See Transport for London’s guide to Operating Coaches in London for full details of the permits needed, and where. Visit www.tfl.gov.uk/cdn/static/cms/documents/operating-coaches-in-london.pdf.

Taking a school group to London?

Registering for Transport for London’s School Party Travel Scheme means your group could benefit from free off-peak travel. Find out more at www.tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/travel-for-under-18s/school-parties

The facilities on offer at Victoria Coach Station

Visit www.tfl.gov.uk for information on Victoria Coach Station and what it can offer in the way of facilities for coach drivers and groups. The station is open for overnight coach parking between 22:30 and 07:30 ­– call 0845 604 0770 to find out more.

Night parking costs from £21.60 inc VAT, and keys must be left with a member of Victoria Coach Station staff at the help point, where they’ll be locked away securely. The parking in CCTV monitored and patrolled by staff 24 hours a day. For further information, email JamesMckinnon@tfl.gov.uk or call 020 7027 2541.

Working in partnership with Sammy’s Garage, the station can also offer the following facilities to coach operators:

  • Re-fuelling
  • Toilet drop
  • Coach wash
  • Routine and emergency maintenance

For further information, call Sammy’s Garage direct on 020 7730 8867.