As you might know, face coverings are now mandatory (starting on Monday last week, June 15th) on public transport (with exemptions).

Even as we are aware of the exemptions – e.g., children under the age of 11 and students travelling on dedicated school bus services, people who have trouble breathing, and anyone whose condition means they are unable to wear one – parents had questions about:

  • Have transport providers made this clear to their on-the-ground staff (e.g. drivers)?
  • Will families be required to show proof for exemption? If so, what sort of proof will be accepted?

Part of the worry is that parents and/or their children will have to suffer the indignity of having to explain their condition in a public setting. There’s also the possibility of not being able to make the trip if the proof they have brought is not recognised by the driver.

We have raised these concerns with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), who assured us that passengers will not be required to provide proof of a condition. Furthermore, “staff may ask if a passenger is aware of the need to wear a face covering, however, if the passenger advises that they are not able to, they will not be asked for further details and will be free to travel.”

“Please be assured that whilst we’re encouraging everyone who can to do their bit and follow Government guidance, we absolutely appreciate that face coverings are not appropriate for some public transport users and will continue to work closely with operators to maintain best practices as we recover the transport network in the safest possible way.”

You can read more about TfGM’s response below:

Current advice is that people only use public transport if they have no other option and instead walk, cycle and drive where possible. This will help to ensure that the reduced capacity that is currently available due to social distancing is available for those who have no option but to use public transport. In addition to this, we are continuing to share Government advice on best practices.

As you are aware, from Monday 15 June Government made the use of face coverings mandatory on public transport services with the following exemptions:

• Children under the age of 11
• Any young people travelling on a dedicated school bus service, regardless of age
• People who have trouble breathing
• Anyone who has a justifiable reason for not wearing one on the grounds of health and disability
• Carers who are travelling with someone who would find a face covering makes it difficult to communicate with them, e.g. someone who relies on lip reading.

Please be assured that operators and staff across Greater Manchester’s transport network are well aware of the guidance and TfGM will continue working closely with them to ensure best practices continue to be followed. Whilst all passengers will be encouraged to follow Government guidance, those who are not able to wear face coverings will not be asked for proof of a condition.