Sadiq Khan asks TfL to make mask wearing a ‘condition of carriage’ after July 19

The London mayor has decided to make face coverings a ‘condition of carriage’ on public transport services in the capital

Sadiq Khan has asked Transport for London (TfL) to enforce the use of face coverings on buses and trains as a “condition of carriage”, even after legal restrictions have been lifted on July 19.

The London mayor said he was not prepared to put tube, tram and other transport users in the capital at risk by removing the rules on face coverings after so-called “freedom day”.

Under the terms of use, enforcement officers would be able to deny access or eject passengers found to be non-compliant while using the transport network.

Speaking to ITV News, Mr Khan said that he consulted with trade unions and businesses before making the decision, which was informed by evidence from Sage and the World Health Organization.

"It is like a contract: if you want to use our services, one of the terms of the contract is that you have to wear a mask. If you are unwilling to wear a face mask, you are not exempt or haven't got a good reason, you will be refused entry onto our buses, tubes or other services," he explained.

"If you are using our services, and you have not got a good reason or exemption not to wear a face mask and you refuse to put it on, you will be asked to leave."

Sadiq Khan has said that wearing face coverings on public transport provides an extra layer of protection, which will increase public confidence

The request comes after the Prime Minister announced on Monday that most of England’s legal Covid-19 restrictions, including compulsory face coverings in many indoor public settings, will end next week as part of the final stage of his road map out of the coronavirus lockdown.

The Transport Secretary told ITV News the new guidance was not "confusing" - despite the difference between what's legal, what's recommended, and what's required.

'This is what we wanted and expected to happen'

"When I announced that you won't require those face coverings by law after the 19th, I specifically said that some transport carriers - so trains, planes - will as a 'condition of carriage' most likely require you to wear a face covering.

"It is horses for courses, this is what we wanted and expected to happen," Grant Shapps says of the restriction the mayor is imposing.

Boris Johnson has urged people to exercise “personal responsibility” in continuing to wear masks in “crowded and enclosed spaces”.

Mr Khan's requirement would mean passengers on all TfL services, which includes the tube, bus, tram, Docklands Light Railway (DLR), Overground and TfL Rail, would need to continue to wear a face covering in stations and for the duration of their journey unless they are exempt.

The mayor also asked TfL to put measures in place to help ensure the continued use of masks in taxis and private hire vehicles by both drivers and passengers unless they are exempt.

The mayor has said the move was not an ideal situation, but is confident that the vast majority of Londoners will adhere to the rules.

He described wearing a mask as "probably the most unselfish thing you could do."

Mr Khan said, however, that a small minority have been non-compliant, with some 4,000 fixed penalty notices having been issued over the last 11 months."A small minority, we have had to issue Fixed Penalty notices- about 4,000. I am confident though that as more people are aware about the importance of a face mask and as more people are aware about it helping others not catching the virus, we will continue to have good behaviour from those using public transport in London."

Referencing Mr Khan's decision, Mr Shapps drew a comparison with the alcohol ban on TfL services.

'I don't buy the idea that this is hugely complicated.'

"This differential already exists in other places, for example Boris Johnson when he was London mayor already introduced the requirement not to drink alcohol on London Underground.

"But as you know on long distance journeys, if you're having a snack, having a meal - you can drink alcohol.

"I haven't seen any great confusion - of course there will be announcements when people cross the border to remind people of whatever the laws are in Scotland or in Wales at any given time.

"I don't buy the idea that this is hugely complicated."

Commuters in London will have to continue to wear face coverings after so-called ‘freedom day’ Credit: Aaron Chown/PA

Conditions of carriage are contractual conditions between passengers and TfL, with existing conditions including not consuming alcohol, which is also enforced by a bylaw.

Officials said TfL enforcement officers patrolling London’s transport network, under the conditions of carriage requirement, will be able to refuse entry to people not wearing masks and who are not exempt, and would also be able to ask people to leave services for failure to comply with the requirement.

TfL said that over the past year almost 212,000 people have been stopped by enforcement officers from getting on the network until they put on a face covering.

Face coverings on public transport were made mandatory in June 2020 Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Almost 14,000 people have been prevented from boarding and around 3,200 were ejected from services.

Station staff and bus drivers will continue to remind passengers that face coverings are a requirement after July 19, with transport use increasing in the capital as the country emerges out of lockdown.

Tube ridership is at around 40-45% of pre-pandemic levels and bus ridership at around 60-65%, according to TfL data.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will scrap the mandatory use of face coverings next week in England Credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA

TfL said it considered amending the existing bylaws to include the mask compulsion, but that such a move would have taken significant time and may have resulted in a gap between national regulations ending and TfL requirements coming into operation.

A government spokeswoman said: “As we’ve set out, we’re moving from a universal government diktat to relying on people’s personal responsibility.

“The guidance is clear that people are expected and recommended to wear a mask when they come into contact with people they don’t normally meet in enclosed and crowded spaces.

“It is open to transport operators to decide if they want to take further measures.”

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