Face coverings to become mandatory on public transport

From 15 June, face coverings will be required while using public transport in England.

Wherever possible people should continue to avoid public transport and walk, cycle or drive, but for some people this may not be an option. Transport usage has been slowly increasing.

The government recently confirmed it had asked transport operators to introduce face coverings as a requirement for travel from June 15.

While the government expects the vast majority of people to comply with the changes, operators will be able to refuse travel or issue penalty fines for those who fail to wear a face covering, in a similar way to the rules on having a ticket for travel. British Transport Police will also support the implementation of these changes.

Social distancing and hand washing remain the most important disease prevention measures but it is also vital all passengers travelling on buses, coaches, trains, trams, ferries and aircraft should wear a face covering and the government will also work with operators to ensure staff are provided with, and wear face coverings, where appropriate for their role.

People should wash their hands or use hand sanitiser before putting their face covering on and after taking it off and it is important that people don’t touch their face covering when wearing it, where possible, to avoid hand to mask transmission of the virus.

Face coverings are not the same as face masks. It is important that people do not use medical grade PPE masks to ensure these remain available for frontline staff. Last month, the government set out advice for people on how to make their own face coverings easily at home, using scarves or other textile items. These face coverings should cover the mouth and nose while allowing the wearer to breathe comfortably and can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head to give a snug fit.

To ease pressure on public transport, the government has announced measures to encourage people to choose other forms of transport, including £2 billion for cycling, and the acceleration of e-scooter trials across the country. To capitalise on the increase in cycling uptake in recent months, the government is also working hard on measures to get more people commuting by bike with initiatives such as the Cycle to Work scheme to help with the cost of bikes, including e-bikes.

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