So far, since the regulations came into effect about wearing a face covering on public transport, 170 people have been prosecuted in court for non-compliance.
That’s a tiny fraction of the total numbers of people are stopped by TfL staff, as the majority then put on a facemask when asked to do so. Fortunately, TfL says that face covering compliance overall across its services is around 90% with around three quarters of passengers who do not wear a face covering having an exemption.
According to a Freedom of Information request, between 4th July (when enforcement began) and 10th December 2020, TfL officers stopped 124,601 people from getting on public transport services until they put on a face covering, or showed good reason not to need one.
People who are medically exempted from wearing a face covering can request a free badge from TfL to show they are exempt – from here.
Despite the considerable awareness of the need to wear a face covering over both the mouth and nose on public transport, nearly 9,000 people had to be prevented from getting on board TfL services, and just over 2,000 people were removed from public transport for refusing to comply with the regulations.
Over 1,300 people were also issued with a fixed penalty notice which currently stands at £200 for a first offence (reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days). This fine can double each time a person is caught not wearing a face covering, up to a maximum of £6,400.
People who refuse to pay the TfL fine within the 28 day limit allowed can be sent for prosecution, and the FOI request revealed that so far 170 people have ended up in court. Fines range from £250 to £440 for those pleading guilty and fines of £660 for those found guilty in their absence.
That’s just for the TfL enforcement, the Met Police and British Transport Police are also carrying out their own operations.