News & Press
Face Coverings: The Latest Rules for Travel
July 31st 2021
In England, the legal requirement to wear face coverings has been lifted. However, the government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport. Here’s how the transport industry is dealing with mask wearing as COVID restrictions start to ease.
The majority of legal restrictions on social contact in England were removed as of 19 July 2021, but the wearing of masks is still recommended in some places, including when travelling in a private vehicle with people you do not usually meet.
Some industries and organisations have revealed what their individual rules will be on requiring face masks, but they will differ across the country. The following are some of the key places and operators that have set out their rules on face coverings…
Coaches and buses
Most coach and bus passengers throughout England will not be subject to mandatory face covering rules after the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) said it would not make them compulsory. The CPT, which represents operators including Stagecoach, First Group, Go Ahead and Arriva, said: “We expect that many people, especially in busy places, will follow the prime minister’s call to continue to wear a face covering as a courtesy to others.”
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents all UK train and tram operators, has said that train passengers will not be forced to wear face masks, commenting that rail travel is ‘low risk’ as most carriages are “well ventilated by air conditioning systems or by doors and windows”.
Transport for London
In London, passengers on all Transport for London (TfL) services – including the Tube, bus, tram, Docklands Light Railway, Overground and TfL Rail – will be required to keep wearing a face covering in stations and for the duration of their journey unless exempt. Enforcement officers in London will be able to refuse passengers who are found to not be complying with the mask requirement.
TfL will also ensure taxi and private hire vehicle drivers and passengers wear masks, unless exempt.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, asked TfL to retain the compulsory face covering requirement on public transport after 19 July when the legal requirement ended, saying it would provide an additional layer of protection and reassurance for London residents and visitors to the capital.
The Mayor also asked TfL to put appropriate measures in place to continue the use of face coverings in taxis and private hire vehicles by both drivers and passengers unless they are exempt.
The mayor’s decision follows his repeated calls on the government to retain the existing national legal requirement for face coverings on public transport, as one in three people who have COVID do not present symptoms, and Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) evidence states that face coverings are likely to be most effective in reducing transmission indoors where social distancing is not feasible. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged that even people who have been double-vaccinated should carry on wearing face coverings in view of highly contagious variants such as Delta.
Taxis and private hire vehicles
Government advice dictates that, even after receiving a vaccine, you should continue to follow the prevailing guidance on how to travel safely when using taxis or private hire vehicles.
The advice of the individual operator and driver should be adhered to, including their rules on wearing face coverings. Always check in advance if you are uncertain of the specific rules that are in place.
An effective way to reduce the spread of COVID-19
Face coverings are one of the most straightforward and effective methods of reducing the spread of COVID-19. They also play an important role in giving people confidence to travel, with a poll showing that the majority of Londoners (68 per cent) wanted face coverings to continue to be compulsory after July 19. Trade unions representing transport workers, including Unite the Union, Aslef, TSSA and the RMT backed the measures as a way of protecting transport staff.
Other European countries, including France, Spain, Italy and Portugal, are also continuing to make face coverings compulsory on public transport.
The Mayor has said the situation will continue to remain subject to ongoing review.
ZedCarZ: Your Safe Ride Awaits
At ZedCarZ, we have always been completely dedicated to passenger safety, including during the pandemic. We have various measures in place to ensure passenger and driver safety, and to ensure we are working within the guidelines set out by the government.
If you are planning to get out and about now restrictions have lifted, and would like to book a safe, COVID-secure ride, you are welcome to get in touch.