Vast majority of London passengers 'complying with face covering rules'

More than nine out of 10 train passengers in London are complying with face covering rules, according to new figures.

Joint patrols by rail staff and British Transport Police officers indicated that 90.8% of travellers are complying with the regulations, industry body the Rail Delivery Group said.

This rises to 98.4% after people not wearing face coverings were spoken to, while 0.2% who refuse to comply are either removed from a train or station, or issued with a fine.

Four operators – Great Northern, Southeastern, Southern and Thameslink – were involved in the eight-week trial, which will be used to consider how to increase compliance across the whole of the rail network.

It has been mandatory to wear a face covering on public transport in England since June 15, in a bid to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

First-time offenders can be handed a fixed penalty notice of £200.

Fines double each time someone is caught, up to a maximum of £6,400.

RDG director of nations and regions Robert Nisbet said: “When face coverings first became mandatory, we thought that almost everyone would do the right thing when they travel, and the data now backs that up.

“We can also see that even for the small number that need reminding, overwhelmingly people will do their part to protect others.

“We will continue to work closely with BTP to see if this success can be replicated across the country so that more people can travel with confidence.”

BTP Chief Superintendent Martin Fry said: “We are pleased that compliance with this law has been high across the rail network, demonstrating that the majority of people are listening and embracing their role in protecting each other by wearing face coverings on trains and in stations.”

Since the rule came into force, the force has stopped 67,741 passengers to remind them of the regulations, asked 4,466 people to leave the railway and issued 141 fines for non-compliance.

Steve White, chief operating officer for Govia Thameslink Railway, which runs Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink, said: “We all need to wear face coverings in stations and on trains unless exempt, to protect those around us as we work together to tackle coronavirus.

“While it’s great that the vast majority of our passengers are doing their bit, this collaboration with the British Transport Police will help to reinforce how important this is.”

Southeastern managing director David Statham said: “The vast majority of our passengers are doing the right thing by wearing a face covering but we know that those who travel with us expect to see everyone following the rules.”