The London Labor Assembly travel spokesman expresses concern about the wearing of masks, now that Johnson has deprived TfL of sanction powers.
TRansport for London (TfL) cannot impose fines on people who do not wear masks on London transport, Left foot forward has learned.
After the government’s decision to make the wearing of masks voluntary as of July 19, regional leaders, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan, fought back by keeping face masks mandatory on their travel networks.
But TfL has confirmed to LFF that it can no longer issue fixed penalty notices against people who refuse to wear a mask on the London travel network. Instead, staff can only refuse service.
Between July and September of last year, Transport for London issued almost 500 tickets to people who did not wear face covers on public transport, the BBC reported – a key pillar to ensure compliance with the policy.
The possible lack of enforcement will raise fears about the spread of Covid in London transport, as the UK delves deeper into what Boris Johnson admitted was a ‘third wave’ of PMQ infections.
In “normal” times, 100 million trips a month are made on the London Underground alone. Currently, the number of passengers on the subway is around 40-45 percent of pre-pandemic levels and the number of bus passengers at around 60-65 percent. The use of masks is known to highly effective to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses such as coronavirus.
TfL customer research from May 2 to May 29, 2021 showed that 86 percent of customers say they wore face covers at all times on TfL public transportation services, although this is likely to have decreased since then.
There have been anecdotal reports of more Londoners refusing to wear masks on the tube, as noted Political on Tuesday.
LFF understands that around 400 uniformed officers patrol the TfL network at all times of the day, although these personnel will have to deal with a variety of issues not necessarily related to the use of masks.
The publicly owned body will focus on a soft “educational” approach, asking customers to put on a mask, rather than removing them from the trip.
A TfL spokesperson said: “The use of a face cover in our services and stations is still a requirement according to the condition of transport of TfL. Frontline transportation staff will continue to remind customers of the rules. They will be supported by our law enforcement officials and those of the operators, who will carry out compliance and compliance activities across the network. Non-exempt clients who do not comply may be denied travel. “
Labor Transportation Spokesperson Elly Baker AM said Left foot forward he was confident that Londoners would continue to wear masks, but that the issue will be a “concern” that will need to be closely monitored now that all legal restrictions have ended.
She said: “When the government regulations expired, the issuance of notices of fixed fines expired, but TfL has done what it can and has made the use of a mask a condition of transport. By virtue of this, TfL agents can still ask someone to leave the network and prevent them from traveling.
“TfL has issued a relatively small number of tickets in the last year. What will really help compliance are reminders to passengers, support from staff and Londoners seeing other passengers continue to wear masks to protect others.
“What worries me most is the lack of consistency around mask requirements in other services outside of TfL’s jurisdiction and this is due to the government’s refusal to pass the necessary national legislation.”
The government knew that making mask use voluntary would lead to decreased use and a high risk of increased transmission. If Conservative MPs are something to go through, they are not listening to the prime minister’s call for everyone to continue wearing masks in crowded spaces, now that there is no sanction …
Josiah Mortimer is co-editor of Left Foot Forward.
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