'Get a grip'

Bus companies must ensure passengers wear face coverings

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Unite, which represents over 80,000 UK bus workers, has called on bus operators to “get a grip” to ensure passengers wear face coverings on buses.

From last Monday (June 15), it has been a requirement under the condition of travel that all passengers (unless exempt) must wear a mask or face covering when travelling on buses and all forms of public transport, to help reduce the transmission of Covid-19.

Although the measure has been widely supported there have been concerns raised about non-compliance in some areas.

While only the police have the power to apply on-the-spot fines for a failure to comply with the conditions of travel, Unite believes that bus companies should be utilising staff other than drivers to order people who are not wearing a face covering to leave the bus.

Unite national officer for passenger transport Bobby Morton said, “Unite has been receiving concerns about passengers not wearing a face covering.

“It is not the responsibility of the bus driver to enforce the wearing of a face covering. Given the challenges and risks they have faced during the pandemic they already have enough on their plate,” he added.

“Unite has advised its members not to get involved with passengers who are not wearing a face covering.

“Bus operators need to get a grip on this matter,” Morton went on to say.  “They should be utilising other staff members to order passengers without face coverings to leave a bus. On routes where there is significant non-compliance the bus operator needs to ensure that the police are involved.

“It is vital that all passengers comply with the regulations in order to reduce the danger of transmission and to ensure that confidence returns to using public transport.”

By Barckley Sumner

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