Transport for London (TfL) is expanding its team of enforcement officers to crack down on customers not complying with face-covering requirements.
Face coverings are mandatory on public transport and whilst 90% observe the regulations at the busiest times of the day, TfL said there continues to be a “selfish minority” who ignore rules. The operator added this puts themselves and fellow passengers at risk.
A new cohort of TfL enforcement officers completed training in December, which will boost its enforcement team to around 500 officers. The officers will ensure compliance of coronavirus safety regulations, as well as tackling aggression and fare evasion.
So far officers have stopped 128,000 people and 1,700 fines have been issued, according to TfL.
Martin Fry, chief superintendent of the British Transport Police, said: “I’m pleased to say our frontline officers report the vast majority of people at stations and on-board trains are wearing face coverings, or are willing to wear one when challenged.
“Coronavirus is a very real and present danger. Wearing a face-mask on the rail network and abiding by the current restrictions is very important, it saves lives and ensures the railway is safe for those who absolutely need to use it, such as those who work in the NHS.”
Police officers from British Transport Police and the Metropolitan Police Service will continue to work alongside TfL enforcement officers to carry out enforcement operations on the transport network every day across the UK capital.
Operations are being regularly carried out at stations with low compliance, and bus stops at Victoria, Brixton and Stratford have been targeted.
Siwan Hayward, director of compliance, policing operations and security at TfL, said: “Wearing face coverings, unless exempt, has been mandatory for seven months now and we continue to communicate the requirement in stations, on platforms and on-board services, so there really is no excuse for not wearing one properly for your entire journey when travelling on our network.”