Call for reinstatement of mandatory face coverings on public transport

London Mayor Sadiq Khan and union leaders have called for face coverings to once again become mandatory on public transport.

While Wales and Scotland have both kept the requirement, in England the wearing of face masks ceased to be compulsory from July 19, with operators instead free to set their own rules.

Khan, who has retained the demand for face coverings on Transport for London services, said on September 21: “As London gets busier and winter approaches, I’m calling on the Government to bring back the national requirement for face masks on public transport.

“We need consistency across the country if we’re going to prevent a new wave of deadly infections.”

His stance is echoed by drivers’ union ASLEF, with General Secretary Mick Whelan saying his organisation believes “mask wearing should be mandatory on trains to protect passengers and staff and to control the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Currently, the rules mean that at a location such as London Euston, face coverings are mandatory on Underground and Overground services (both part of TfL), but not on the Network Rail areas of the station or main line trains.

The calls come as observers have noticed a decline in the number of people wearing face coverings in recent weeks.

A BBC report on September 22 suggested that on stations in England, NR had found the percentage of those doing so to be as low as 20%.

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