Although the majority of people comply with the law regarding wearing a face cover on public transport, TfL is stepping up its enforcement against people who still refuse to wear one without good reason.
Since the regulations came into effect, 128,000 people have been stopped by TfL officers, and 1,700 fines issued. Around 650 people have been prosecuted for not wearing a mask on the network. Fines have been as much as £660 for those convicted for a first offence, with one repeat offender having to pay £1,170.
Station staff counts and analysis of CCTV show the vast majority of passengers are wearing a face covering over their nose and mouth when on public transport and in stations, unless they are exempt. Those who are exempt from wearing a face covering have the option to order a free card or badge from the TfL website.
Despite that, TfL recently expanded its team of enforcement officers and is handing out more fines to non-compliers and prosecuting those who do not pay.
A cohort of 20 new TfL enforcement officers completed training in December, boosting TfL’s enforcement team to around 500 officers who are ensuring compliance of coronavirus safety regulations, as well as tackling aggression, fare evasion and providing greater visibility and reassurance.
The recruits are now working alongside police officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (Met) and British Transport Police (BTP).
It can’t mean an enforcement officer on every single bus and train, but operations are being regularly carried out at stations where they know there’s a problem with low compliance. Bus stops at Victoria, Brixton and Stratford have been targeted – with an operation taking place near Walthamstow bus station yesterday (Tuesday) morning.
Superintendent Gary Taylor from the Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command, said: “We are almost a year into living with this virus and by now everyone should know how to protect themselves and those around them. Wearing a face covering on public transport is just one of the ways to stay safe.”
If you’re job hunting, TfL expects that more Enforcement Officer roles will be created in the coming months and advertised on the TfL website.