Face coverings

3 months ago Fri 12th Jun 2020

Bus drivers are exempt from wearing face coverings while driving Government message - be considerate to passengers with exemptions from wearing face coverings

From Monday 15th June 2020, the government made it mandatory for passengers to wear a face covering while travelling on public transport. 

The below information we have received from the Confederation of Passenger Transport following negotiation with the Department for Transport. Please be advised that even though this comes into effect as from Monday 15th June, it is not the final guidance and may be subject to change.

Find an answer

What is a face covering?

To cover your face whilst travelling, you do not need a medical mask. A face covering can be very simple, like a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head to give a snug fit. It just needs to cover your mouth and nose.

Where can I get a face covering?

Your face covering does not have to be a medical mask, it can be homemade - the government has some guidance here on making your own, or we have an easy step-by-step guide below.

How to make a face mask

Who is exempt from wearing face coverings?

Everyone is expected to wear a face covering if they can, and those who are not complying and are not exempt can be issued a fine by the police. The below list of exemptions from the government is not exhaustive and would extend to someone who has a justifiable reason for not wearing one on the grounds of health or disability not outlined below.

Please remember to be mindful and considerate of other passengers as not all reasons for exemptions are visible.

The requirement to wear a face covering does not apply to:
  • a child under the age of 11
  • passengers in an allocated cabin, berth or other similar accommodation, when they are alone or with members of their household or support bubble
  • passengers who remain in their private vehicle while on board public transport, for example on a car ferry
  • an employee of the transport operator, when they are acting in the course of their employment
  • any other person providing services to the transport operator, under arrangements made with the transport operator, who is providing those services
  • a constable or police community support officer acting in the course of their duty
  • an emergency responder such as a paramedic or fire officer acting in the course of their duty
  • an official, for example a border force officer, acting in the course of their duties
You also do not need to wear a face covering if you have a good reason not to. This includes:
  • if you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering
  • if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress
  • if you are travelling with, or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • if you are travelling to avoid injury or escape the risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
  • if you need to remove it during your journey to avoid harm or injury or the risk of harm or injury to yourself or others
  • if you need to eat, drink, or take medication you can remove your face covering
  • if you are asked to remove your face covering by a police officer or other official

How will drivers know if someone is exempt?

We would ask that passengers work with us and comply with the requirement to wear a face covering if they can. For those who are unable to do so, please inform the driver when boarding.

Will drivers be wearing face coverings?

Drivers will usually be protected by a screen and will therefore not be required to wear one but should they need to leave the cab to provide passenger assistance they will wear a face covering.

What about compliance?

We hope that the travelling public will be happy to wear face coverings to help protect others, and therefore we hope that there will be high levels of compliance with this policy, reducing the need for enforcement. However, those not complying can be issued with a fine by the police.

The British Transport Police and police forces generally will have powers to fine those not wearing face coverings on public transport, although this would be a last resort.

Journey Assistance Cards

If you are exempt from wearing a face covering, you may want to use the journey assistance card below to help you whilst travelling. You can show this to your driver when boarding the bus by either saving it to your phone or downloading and printing it. 

If you are exempt, can get your card here.