Day one of face coverings sees “vast majority” adhering to measures

Face coverings are now required on public transport. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Face coverings are now required on public transport. Picture: Ella Wilkinson - Credit: Archant

The “vast majority” of passengers adhered to new face covering measures aboard the county’s buses and trains as new rules came into force today, say travel bosses.

Monday marked the start of new coronavirus measures which requires people to wear a face covering on public transport, as well as on ferries or planes.

Under the new rules, passengers on public transport will be allowed to remove the covering to eat or drink if it is “reasonably necessary” to do so, while those exempt altogether from the new rules include children under 11, anyone with breathing difficulties or disabilities and anyone who is travelling with someone else who needs to read your lips to understand them.

If a passenger does not wear a face covering they risk a fine of £50, which could increase to £100 if not paid, or refused travel.

More: Q&A: What are the new rules around face coverings?

Chris Speed, head of operations at First Eastern Counties said: “Day one has been pretty good in terms of most people adhering to the new ruling in wearing a face covering when using our services. Our drivers cannot enforce the wearing of a face covering as their focus must always be on driving people safely to their destination, however they will advise customers when boarding if they are not wearing a face covering. We are appealing to all customers intending to use our services that they act responsibly and follow the Government’s rules.

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“We understand that it will take time for everyone to adapt and we are providing the information needed for effective journey planning across all our communications channels.”

To help passengers KonectBus managing director Jeremy Cooper said the company had published advanced advice to help passengers prepare for the new requirements.

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The company said passengers should cover their mouth and nose with a scarf, bandana or other fabric covering and carry more than one covering for long journeys. Used face coverings should be stored in a plastic bag.

Mr Cooper added: “We have now been able to confirm the list of exemptions to our customers and we are confident that all those who are required to wear a face covering will continue to do so.”

On the trains, a Greater Anglia spokesman said it hoped they would not need to take action of its enforcement provisions.

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The spokesperson said: “The vast majority of customers followed government guidance and wore a face covering while travelling on our services today.

“We would urge all customers to wear face coverings if they need to travel by train, in line with government requirements, so that we can all keep as safe as possible. Enforcement provisions are in place should they need to be used, but we hope they won’t be needed.

“We’re doing our best to help our customers by making it easier to maintain social distancing and monitoring passenger numbers to make sure that trains are long enough and frequent enough to prevent crowding.”

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