Government's advice on face coverings from July 19 'confusing' for bus operators
The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) has said the Government's announcement on the use of face coverings from July 19 is "confusing" for bus operators.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday (July 5) that the legal requirement to wear face coverings will be lifted.
Mr Johnson said: "We will end the one metre plus rule on social distancing, and the legal obligation to wear a face covering, although guidance will suggest where you might choose to do so, especially when cases are rising, and where you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet in enclosed places, such as obviously crowded public transport."
The CPT - a trade body which acts for the bus and coach sector - welcomed the fact that social distancing will end and said it will allow buses to play a full role in the country’s recovery from the pandemic.
A spokesperson for the CPT said: "However, this is being put at risk by the confusing announcement on face coverings which passes the buck to operators unfairly placing staff on the front line in managing disputes.
"Operators have worked hard to make bus and coach travel safe during the pandemic and the Government should make it clear what the science is now telling them.
"If it advises face coverings are still required, then they should be mandated in all enclosed public spaces but if they are no longer required then there should be no guidance advising of their continued use.
“This confusion and mixed messaging will discourage people from travelling to work, to the shops or from visiting visitor attractions across the country, making it harder for local economies to bounce back and for bus and coach to play a role in reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality by taking cars off our roads."
First Bus said it was currently reviewing the proposals.
A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Trains should be treated consistently with other indoor settings when it comes to the removal or on-going use of restrictions.
“Travelling by train is low risk and carriages are well ventilated with air regularly refreshed either by air conditioning systems, or by doors and windows being opened, so any decision to leave public transport behind other parts of the economy would need to be based on the science.
“Of course, train companies will continue with extra cleaning and better information about how busy services are, and given that wearing a mask helps protect others, we would also support people who wished to continue wearing one in future if it becomes voluntary.”