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EXCLUSIVE: DfT and TS confirm face coverings required for charters

The Department for Transport and Transport Scotland have confirmed that the legislation regarding the mandatory wearing of face coverings on public transport does include charter train passengers.

Until now, the UK Government had issued conflicting statements on the regulations for passengers wearing face coverings on charter trains.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings on Public Transport) (England) Regulations 2020, introduced on June 15, contain a ‘case-by-case’ approach to an aspect of the rules surrounding the consumption of food and drink onboard, which left the door open for different interpretations of the regulations (RAIL 909).

However, a DfT email that has been seen by RAIL states: “The current legislation on the wearing of face coverings on public transport states that a face covering should be worn on any service for the carriage of passengers from place to place which is available to the general public (whether or not payment is required for this service). These regulations include heritage rail, as these trains transport people from place to place and are available to the general public on purchase of a ticket; and the exemptions in the legislation do not apply in this context.”

The charter industry had been lobbying for exemption on the basis that seating plans can be arranged to socially-distance passengers from each other.

However, the DfT email goes on to explain the Department’s requirement for masks: “The reason for this measure is that trains are enclosed spaces where the risk of transmission is high, and therefore wearing face coverings could improve the protections for passengers and employees.”

  • For more on this story, read RAIL 912, on sale digitally on August 19 and in shops from August 26.

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  • Judson Simzer - 30/08/2020 02:34

    That's the UK rail charter and excursion market finished then. No-one wants to wear a mask when travelling for leisure. The government insists people are scared to travel on normal trains but the truth is most people don't like wearing masks if they don't have to. As a lifetime train user, I have abandoned rail travel completely and will never return to it unless the government removes the requirement to wear a mask, and no, I have no fear of COVID-19. I feel sorry for all those involved in charter trains who will now lose their jobs but that's nothing compared to the scaling back of regular passenger trains when usage doesn't increase because of !mandatory masks. The unions will likely go on strike but widespread job losses in the passenger rail industry are very likely over the coming year.

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    • John Inver - 17/09/2020 13:07

      I echo your words Judson. I am about to cancel a charter train for December. I will not wear a mask in a train for 2 x 5 hour journeys.

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