Transport for London (TfL) has set out the arrangements for the use of face coverings on the transport network, ahead of the Government's new guidance that they must be worn on public transport from Monday.
From Monday, customers must wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth for their entire journey, including in stations, unless they are exempt. These include people who have trouble breathing, children and anyone who finds it difficult to manage them correctly. Additionally, face coverings should be worn by everyone in taxi and private hire vehicles for the duration of their journey.
Transport for London has been helping Londoners adjust to the new rules by piloting the temporary distribution of face coverings at targeted Tube and bus stations, as well as providing advice on how to make your own and encouraging in-station retailers to make them available. Since Monday around 30,000 face coverings have been distributed during the morning peak and TfL has seen an increase in their usage across the network.
From Monday, hundreds of officers from the Met and British Transport Police, as well TfL's own enforcement officers will be helping customers to comply with the new requirement, explaining what they are and helping them to access one of the free face coverings TfL is providing during the introductory period. They will also explain to customers how everyone on the network benefits from the widespread use of face coverings. Once TfL is confident customers understand the new requirements, enforcement, which may include being refused entry or being fined, will start. This is expected to be a last resort as Londoners will want to do the right thing and keep themselves and others safe.
Customers are reminded to treat everyone on the network with respect and compassion, and to understand that some customers and staff will be unable to wear a face covering for medical reasons that may not be immediately obvious. Staff are not required to wear a face covering when they are not in public areas, which could include the driver's cab, control rooms or working in maintenance areas.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "From this Monday, it will be mandatory for Londoners to wear a face covering when travelling on public transport. This will make our network safer for everybody - particularly when maintaining a social distance is not always possible."
"As restrictions on non-essential retail are gradually eased and more Londoners return to their workplaces, next week we can expect a small increase in footfall across the network. To meet this additional demand, TfL has been working extremely hard to build services back up to where they were before many of their staff were affected by the coronavirus. This week more than 90 per cent of peak weekday services have been operating and this will continue to increase as more staff return from illness or isolation."
"However, it's clear life simply won't return to how it was before. Even when public transport returns to a full pre-pandemic service it will still only be able to carry 13-15 per cent of the typical number of Tube passengers to enable social distancing. I'm urging Londoners to continue avoiding the transport network and continue working from home wherever possible to keep it free for those who need it. When journeys need to be made, consider whether they can be cycled or walked."
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Transport for London are the integrated transport authority responsible for meeting Mayor Sadiq Khan's strategy and commitments on transport in London. We run the day-to-day operation of the Capital's public transport network and manage London's main roads.