Hard line taken against minority flouting face covering regulations

Around 1,700 Fixed Penalty Notices have been issued to those who have travelled on the network without a face covering and who are not exempt

Transport for London has stepped up its enforcement of face coverings seven months after the measure became mandatory on public transport.

Figures show strong public support for the use of face coverings on the capital’s transport network and around 90% compliance at the busiest times of the day, “with only a selfish minority who are not exempt continuing to ignore the regulation and putting themselves and their fellow passengers at risk”.

TfL has expanded its team of enforcement officers and is handing out more fines to non-compliers and prosecuting those who do not pay. A new cohort of enforcement officers completed training in December and this boosts TfL’s enforcement team to around 500 officers who are ensuring compliance of coronavirus safety regulations, as well as tackling aggression, fare evasion and providing greater visibility and reassurance.

The new recruits are now in operation on the transport network, working alongside police officers from the Metropolitan Police and British Transport Police and carrying out enforcement operations on the transport network every day across the capital.

Operations are regularly carried out at stations with low compliance, and bus stops at Victoria, Brixton and Stratford have been targeted – with an operation taking place near Walthamstow bus station on Tuesday morning.

“People should only be travelling if they have a legitimate reason and ensuring the network is safe for those customers, which include NHS and other key workers, is our top priority,” said Siwan Hayward, TfL’s director of compliance, policing operations and security.

“Wearing face coverings, unless exempt, has been mandatory for seven months now and we continue to communicate the requirement in stations, on platforms and on-board services, so there really is no excuse for not wearing one properly for your entire journey when travelling on our network.”

TfL’s latest customer survey found 75% are supportive of face-covering enforcement, rising to 86% among those aged 65 and over.

Over the last seven months, around 128,000 people have been stopped from boarding services until they have put on a face covering, around 9,300 have been prevented from boarding, and around 2,100 have been ejected from services. Around 1,700 Fixed Penalty Notices have been issued to those who have travelled on the network without a face covering and who are not exempt.

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