Bus operators Brighton & Hove and Metrobus and train operator c2c have offered support to passengers who are unable to wear a face covering

 
Brighton & Hove and Metrobus Helping Hand face covering exemption cards

 
Bus operators Brighton & Hove and Metrobus and train operator c2c have introduced new ways for passengers who are exempt from wearing a face covering to feel more comfortable.

Since 15 June, face coverings have been mandatory on public transport in England following changes to government guidelines. However, some groups are exempt from the rule, including children under the age of 11, people with disabilities or breathing problems and anyone travelling with someone who lip-reads.

Brighton & Hove and Metrobus have produced a free card to help passengers who are exempt from wearing a face covering. The Go-Ahead-owned companies have adapted their yellow Helping Hand card to read ‘please be supportive. I’m exempt from wearing a face covering’ to help those passengers who cannot wear one.

The company’s Bus Supervisor Team is hopping on and off buses and handing out free Helping Hand exemption cards, along with face coverings for other passengers. They are also politely explaining to customers who are not exempt why they should wear a face covering. The team has estimated there has been around 90% compliance from passengers who can wear a face covering.

Brighton & Hove and Metrobus’ managing director, Martin Harris, said he hoped the card would prove useful for people who were exempt from wearing a face covering.

We know that some passengers who are exempt from wearing a face covering may feel anxious about the possible reaction from other people because they are not wearing one. This card is to help those people feel more comfortable

“We know that some passengers who are exempt from wearing a face covering may feel anxious about the possible reaction from other people because they are not wearing one,” he said. “This card is to help those people feel more comfortable. I also appeal to passengers to show kindness and respect towards those who cannot wear a face covering, while remembering that not all disabilities are visible.

“I must stress, a face covering exemption card is a personal choice and this card is definitely not something people have to carry by law. Our drivers and Bus Supervisor Team will not ask you to prove you are exempt from wearing a face covering. It is simply there to help you, if you would like one.

“It is crucial that passengers who can wear a face covering wear one when boarding and for their entire journey. It is one of the most important ways to help keep everyone safe, as well as being a legal requirement.”

Brighton & Hove and Metrobus staff are working through Helping Hand card applications as quickly as possible. Passengers who prefer not to wait can print their own from the bus company’s website, downloading the file onto their phone, or taking a screen shot it to show the driver when they board a bus.

East London and South Essex train operator c2c has meanwhile launched a new exemption badge for customers who are unable to wear face coverings. They are similar to c2c’s popular Baby on-Board badge scheme for pregnant women, which they can wear when travelling with c2c.

We know some people may feel more comfortable wearing something that says they are exempt from this rule and also allows our staff as well as the British Transport Police to know who should and shouldn’t be wearing a face covering

“We have launched this new exemption badge to support those customers who are unable to wear a face covering,” said c2c managing director Julian Drury. “We know some people may feel more comfortable wearing something that says they are exempt from this rule and also allows our staff as well as the British Transport Police to know who should and shouldn’t be wearing a face covering.”

The badges can be collected at all c2c stations or applied through the website.

 
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