Masks to remain mandatory on TfL services despite Government guidance

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has confirmed that masks will remain mandatory on all TfL services beyond 19 July, when it will not be a legal requirement to wear a face covering in England.

mask wearing public transport

Scenes like this will continue on London's Tube network for a little longer

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has asked TfL to keep the requirement to wear face coverings on public transport as a condition of travel on all TfL services after 19 July when the existing national legal requirement finishes.

The requirement would mean passengers on all TfL services would need to continue to wear a face covering in stations and for the duration of their journey unless they are exempt. This would include the Tube, bus, tram, DLR, Overground and TfL Rail. The Mayor has also asked TfL to put appropriate measures in place to help ensure the continued use of face coverings in taxis and private hire vehicles by both drivers and passengers unless they are exempt.

The debate on mask-wearing on public transport was once again sparked into life last week after the Government confirmed that it would no longer be a legal requirement in England from next Monday (19 July), though there were suspicions then that TfL might make a face covering a condition of carriage.

That has come to fruition, though the Mayor has said he and TfL will keep this subject to ongoing review. Conditions of carriage are contractual conditions between passengers and TfL, with existing conditions including not consuming alcohol which is also enforced by a byelaw.

“I’ve repeatedly made clear that the simplest and safest option would have been for the Government to retain the national requirement for face coverings on public transport. I’m not prepared to stand by and put Londoners, and our city’s recovery, at risk. This is why, after careful consideration, I have decided to ask TfL to retain the requirement for passengers to wear a face covering on all TfL services when the national regulations change,” said Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London.

 “By keeping face masks mandatory we will give Londoners and visitors the reassurance and confidence to make the most of what our city has to offer, while also protecting our heroic transport workers and those who may be vulnerable and rely on the network to get around our city. It’s an extra layer of protection on top of TfL’s world-leading enhanced cleaning regime – and I’m sure Londoners will continue to do the right thing as they have done throughout the pandemic, and continue to wear a face covering on TfL services.”

TfL says its frontline station staff and bus drivers will continue to remind passengers that face coverings are a requirement. TfL’s specially trained enforcement officers, who patrol the transport network to ensure customers and staff remain safe, will run targeted operations and will refuse entry to people not wearing masks and who are not exempt. The operator says it would also be able to ask people to leave services for failure to comply with the requirement.

“I would like to thank the vast majority of people using our services, who have followed the rules and helped control the virus and keep each other, and our staff, safe. I urge everyone to continue to follow the requirements so that we can continue to build confidence, and get back to the many wonderful things about London that we have missed during the pandemic,” added Andy Byford, London’s Transport Commissioner.

“The transport network is cleaner than ever, with an enhanced cleaning regime, hospital grade cleaning products, widely available hand sanitizer and UV light fittings on escalator handrails to kill viruses. It is great news that regular independent testing for the virus by Imperial College has found no trace on our services, and we are now ready to safely welcome back more and more customers from 19 July as people head out to enjoy all that the capital has to offer.”