Stagecoach criticised for not forcing passengers to wear face coverings
PUBLISHED: 16:51 16 June 2020 | UPDATED: 09:30 17 June 2020
© Terry Harris
Stagecoach has been criticised for not enforcing a new law which states face coverings are compulsory when using public transport.
The legislation - introduced yesterday (Monday) - has been introduced to protect drivers and passengers from the spread of coronavirus as lockdown measures are eased.
After we published photographs of passengers travelling without face masks in Peterborough, Collette Delaney approached us to say she had earlier contacted the bus company Stagecoach with her concerns.
She said: “I am concerned as I used two buses this [Monday] morning, and saw zero enforcement of the new law.
“I did question a driver about this to which he replied ‘you couldn’t police it’.”
While the coverings have been made compulsory by law, Stagecoach refers to the legislation as “rules” and the bus drivers’ union RMT is advising its members that enforcement is to be carried out by the police.
The spokesperson for Stagecoach said: “Ultimately, only police forces have the powers to enforce the new regulations by fining those not wearing face coverings as required.
“We will continue to appeal to customers to act responsibly and follow the government’s rules.”
She added: “Under exceptional circumstances, we may need to take further action by involving local police, but this would be a last resort.”
Stagecoach also explained the majority of passengers have been following the “new rules” and a journey assistance card has been introduced for those exempt from wearing face coverings.
The spokesperson said: “Most passengers are looking to do the right thing and are very supportive of the changes. However, we know that it will take some time for passengers to adapt to this new requirement.
“As with any change in any part of life there may be instances where people forget or aren’t aware and we are helping our passengers to understand the new guidance.”
She added: “We have detailed information on our buses and across our website and social media channels, and we will continue to remind people of the importance of following the new rules to help themselves and their fellow passengers.”
A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire Police said: “Our stance remains the same that enforcement is the last resort.
“Officers will first engage with people, explain the situation and encourage them to change their behaviour.”
Police received one report of people not wearing face coverings yesterday (Monday) morning on two buses in Peterborough.
“However, this information was provided 12 hours after the incident took place,” the spokesperson said.
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