Passengers prepared for new rules on facemasks on public transport
PUBLISHED: 16:30 15 June 2020
Sarah Lucy Brown
Passengers on public transport in the region were coming to terms with new rules on Monday, which require them to wear non-medical facemasks for their journeys to work.
And the boss of Ipswich Buses said they had noticed a slight increase in the number of passengers on the first day that town centre shops reopened after the lockdown.
It is now an offence to travel on public transport without wearing a face covering – which can be a mask or bandana – except for those with specific medical conditions that make it difficult for them to wear anything across the mouth. The government has urged people not to wear surgical facemasks and to keep those for NHS and care home staff.
A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia said all staff had been provided with face coverings – and passengers had arrived at stations with masks.
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She said: “Most essential passengers had been wearing them before anyway and now it has become compulsory and everyone seems to have got the message.
“Staff have said they are starting to see some familiar faces coming back to commuter trains – although when I checked with our statistics people it seems that the numbers of people travelling haven’t gone up from where they have been.”
Government advice remains that public transport should only be used for essential journeys – and that if people have any other ways of travelling they should use them to ensure there is room for essential travellers to observe social distancing.
Ipswich Buses’ general manager Steve Bryce said the company had seen a few more people using its buses coming into the town centre on Monday morning as stores started to open – but passenger numbers were still far away from “normal”.
He said: “People have been very good with face coverings. We are selling reusable face coverings for £5.50 from our office at Tower Ramparts – and people who need and exemption from wearing them can get a card from there that they can show to the driver.
“We are still running the reduced service that came in during lockdown, but we are keeping things under constant review and we will see what happens.” The company is now using larger vehicles, including double-deckers, on many routes to allow social-distancing.
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