It’s been mandatory to wear face coverings on public transport for seven months. Figures show strong public support for the measure, with around 90 per cent compliance at the busiest times of day. The vast majority of passengers are wearing a face covering over their nose and mouth when on public transport and in stations, unless they are exempt. Only a selfish minority who are not exempt are continuing to ignore the regulation and put themselves and their fellow passengers at risk. We have expanded our team of enforcement officers, and they are handing out more fines to customers who don’t comply and prosecuting those who do not pay.
A new cohort of TfL enforcement officers completed training in December, boosting our enforcement team to around 500. They work alongside our policing partners from the Metropolitan Police Service and British Transport Police to carry out enforcement operations on our transport network every day. They 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 and we are regularly carrying out operations at stations with low compliance.
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
- around 2,100 have been ejected from services
- around 1,700 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) have been issued to those who have travelled on the network without a face covering and who are not exempt
Customers who do not pay their fine within 28 days face prosecution, and around 650 people have been prosecuted for not wearing a mask on the network. Fines have been as much as £660 for those convicted for a first offence, with one repeat offender having to pay £1,170.
Our latest customer survey found 75 per cent are supportive of face covering enforcement, rising to 86 per cent among those aged 65 and over.
The Government's message is that everyone must stay at home unless for a legally permitted reason. A reasonable excuse for leaving home includes travel to work where it cannot be done from home, to shop for necessities, seek medical assistance, visit a support bubble or for education. We are continuing to run as full a service as possible for those who must travel, and Londoners are also encouraged to use London's network of safe walking or cycling routes where possible and to use our travel tools to plan journeys by public transport during the quieter times. These are currently between 08:15 and 16:00 and after 17:30 on weekdays, and before noon and after 18:00 on weekends on public transport.
The enforcement of face coverings complements other rigorous measures we taking to support a safe, reliable and clean network that gives people who need to travel the confidence to do so. The enhanced cleaning regime deployed at the start of the pandemic using hospital-grade cleaning substances, continues to make the network cleaner than ever, and more than 150 ultraviolet light sanitising devices were installed on escalators on the Tube network in October. Good hand hygiene also remains essential and more than 1,100 hand sanitiser units across the network continue to dispense free Dettol hand sanitiser.
Weekend travel information
If you are using public transport for a legally permitted reason, we have tools to help you plan your journey, including information on the quiet times to travel. Please travel at these quiet times if at all possible to ensure that social distancing can be maintained. The quiet times are between 08:15 and 16:00 and after 17:30 on weekdays and before noon and after 18:00 on weekends.
You must wear a face covering over your nose and mouth at all times when on the transport network, unless exempt. The overwhelming majority of people are complying with this requirement and the British Transport police and our own officers are on the network to check compliance. Fines of up to £6,400 exist for anyone who does not comply.
Please also wash or sanitise hands before and after travel.
Thank you for helping to keep everyone safe during this period.