By LDRS reporter Owen Sheppard
TfL has issued 127 fines to bus and rail passengers who failed to wear a face covering without an acceptable reason.
The transport body confirmed the figure on July 21, but said 90 per cent of passengers are now wearing them on London’s transport network.
It added that 538 people have been “removed” from trains, buses and trams for refusing to wear a face covering.
And about 35,500 have been prompted to put one on before boarding a service, TfL said.
Face coverings were made mandatory by the Government from June 15, with £100 fines for failure to do so.
In the capital, TfL said it refrained from issuing fines until July 4, when it began its “enforcement phase”, and after weeks of tasking staff with reminding people of the need to wear them.
However, on July 4 and 5, some 200 TfL officers took part in a weekend operation where an estimated 3,000 people were stopped from boarding trains and buses before putting one on. Officers also offered masks to those who didn’t have one.
TfL’s director of compliance, Siwan Hayward, said: “We have been educating customers of the need to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth, unless exempt, since June. As a result we are now seeing widespread usage on our network, with around 90 per cent of customers wearing them in the morning peak.
“Since July 4 we have stopped more than 35,500 people from travelling on buses until they put on a face covering. We have found that people generally want to do the right thing and keep others safe…
“Fixed penalty notices [fines] are a last resort but they are used where necessary – with 127 fines already issued by TfL officers to those refusing to comply.”
Children under 11 and people with various health concerns are exempt from having to wear a face covering. TfL lists them as:
- If you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering
- If putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress
- If you are travelling with, or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
- If you are travelling to avoid injury or escape the risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
- If you need to remove it during your journey to avoid harm or injury or the risk of harm or injury to yourself or others
- If you need to eat, drink, or take medication you can remove your face covering
TfL staff and emergency services can also remove their masks at their discretion.