Transport for London (TfL) has today issued a warning to those people breaking the law by failing to wear a face covering on public transport that they will face a hefty fine should they not comply.
Since 15 June, it has been mandatory for customers to wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth for their entire journey, including in stations and on platforms, unless they are exempt.
According to TfL, the vast majority of people on London’s transport network who are not exempt are protecting others by correctly wearing a face covering, with more than 90 per cent compliance at the busiest times of the day. However there remains a small number of people who continue to risk being fined by flouting the law.
TfL’s enforcement officers, alongside police officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (Met) and British Transport Police (BTP) are carrying out enforcement operations on the transport network every day at locations across the capital. Last week, enforcement operations – which target people failing to wear their face covering properly as well as those without one - took place on buses, trains and at stations across London, including Stratford; Notting Hill Gate; King’s Cross; Bexleyheath and Stamford Hill. The vast majority of people were able to produce or correct their face covering, or had a valid exemption.
TfL uses information provided by bus drivers, station and other frontline staff about where there are issues of non-compliance alongside other intelligence to determine where to deploy its officers.
Since 4 July, when TfL enforcement officers moved to an enforcement phase after previously explaining the requirement and encouraging compliance, officers have stopped around 7,600 people from boarding and have removed 1,800 people from services. Around 400 fixed penalty notice fines have been issued by TfL officers to those refusing to comply.
Face coverings have now become mandatory for all taxi and private hire passengers. The penalty for passengers failing to wear a face covering will be £200 for a first offence, doubling each time to a maximum fine of £6,400. This is in line with penalties for breaking the rule of six.
Following new measures introduced by the Government, TfL and the police have powers to issue stronger penalties and to prosecute those more persistent offenders.
Siwan Hayward, Director of Compliance, Policing Operations and Security at Transport for London (TfL), said: “To help protect everyone’s health and control the spread of the virus, it is essential that people wear face coverings. It is also hugely important for giving Londoners confidence to travel.
“The vast majority of customers are protecting others by wearing a face covering properly unless they are exempt, and most people are very responsive when they are spoken to and will put one on or adjust it. But sadly, there is a selfish minority who are showing a complete disregard for everyone around them and who think it is ok to ignore the law. It is those individuals our enforcement officers and the police are targeting through our enforcement operations, which are taking place across London at all times of day.
“My message to these individuals is: you will be caught and face a hefty fine or prosecution. We would rather people were sensible and follow the law, but we will take enforcement action when we need to.”