Sunday, 28 June 2020

Face coverings to be compulsory on Public Transport as capacity increases

In line with the beginning of phase three of the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business, and with growing demand for our services, capacity on public transport will be increased from tomorrow (Monday 29th).

Up to this, as a result of social distancing restrictions, capacity on public transport has been limited to about 20% of pre-COVID levels.

This resulted in services coming under considerable pressure as the economy began to open up and as more people started to move around.

From tomorrow, capacity on buses, trains and trams will increase from 20% to about 50%.

In conjunction with this move, face coverings will be compulsory on all public transport services.

Wearing a face covering in crowded situations such as public transport is already strongly recommended. Now it is to become mandatory.

As public health authorities have advised, face coverings can help prevent someone who may not even know they are infected from making other people sick, and the use of face masks will help protect both passengers and drivers alike.

A detailed regulation on this is being prepared by government departments and NTA is involved with that process. That regulation will look at issues like enforcement and exemptions.

The vast majority of drivers on our buses, trains and trams are already in a protected environment behind a screen or in a cab. Nevertheless, while the wearing of a face covering may not become a requirement for them, all public transport workers are strongly encouraged to do so.

NTA Chief Executive Officer, Anne Graham said:

“Two things are happening tomorrow. One is about increasing capacity, the other is about a move to making face coverings compulsory for passengers on public transport.
“We are moving from 20% capacity, to 50%, so tomorrow if you see more people on your bus, train or Luas than you have become accustomed to, that is why.

“But for that to make sense from a public health point of view, our customers will have to wear a face covering. “This is an important part of efforts to build confidence in public transport as more people return to work over the coming weeks and months.

“At this stage, our focus and that of the operators in on education, awareness and giving our customers every encouragement to wear a face covering.

“We are asking people to do the right thing and exercise their personal responsibility.

“This is the new ask of citizens to protect others’ health. My mask protects you. Your mask protects me.

“We would urge the travelling public to continue to behave responsibly when using public transport.”