Londoners Reminded of New Facemask Rule on Public Transport

Set to be compulsory on tubes, trains, buses and taxis

Picture: TfL

New rules on the wearing of facemasks on public transport are set to come into force this Monday (15 June).

Passengers without a specific exemption must wear face coverings for their entire journey including those in taxis.

You are still urged to avoid public transport except for essential journeys that cannot be made by other means

Face covering over nose and mouth must be worn for the entire journey, including in stations, unless the passenger has an exemption. These include people who have trouble breathing, children and anyone who finds it difficult to manage them correctly.

Transport for London (TfL) has been 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 last 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.

When the new rule comes into force, hundreds of officers from the Met and British Transport Police, as well TfL’s own enforcement officers will be helping passengers to comply with the new requirement. Once TfL is confident passengers understand the new requirements, enforcement, which may include being refused entry or being fined, will start. It is hoped that this will be a last resort.

TfL reminding passengers to treat everyone on the network with respect and compassion, and to understand that some other passengers 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."

TfL has been running more than 90 per cent of its peak weekday Tube services, including reaching normal service levels on some lines, and 87 per cent of its bus services this week.

However, even when TfL operates a normal service it will still only be able to carry about 13-20 per cent of the typical number of Tube and bus passengers to enable social distancing.

People who have no choice but to use public transport should avoid the busiest times and locations. These are from 5:45am to 8:15am and from 4:00pm to 5:30pm.

Passengers are urged to take the most direct route and avoid busy interchanges.

June 12, 2020