FOI request detail

Face coverings on transport

Request ID: FOI-0944-2122
Date published: 20 August 2021

You asked

When Mayor Khan instructed TfL to continue the policy of mandated face mask wearing as a condition of travel except a Statutory Instrument national law would you please send me a copy of his instruction to TfL and advise me the delivery metrics he imposed on TfL for this initiative. Please advise the additional funding Mayor Khan made available to TfL to enforce the policy given that TfL can no longer call upon Met or BT Police resources for enforcement.

We answered

Our Ref:         FOI-0944-2122

Thank you for your request received on 26 July 2021 asking for information about the use of face coverings on our network.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can confirm we hold some of the information you require.

Throughout the pandemic, TfL has taken its lead from prevailing UK Government policy, which has been very clear in its communications relating to the ‘Step 4’ changes (introduced in England on 19 July 2021) that, although the legal requirement to wear a face covering has been removed, it (the Government) “still recommends and expects that people wear face coverings in enclosed and crowded spaces where they come into contact with people they don’t normally meet – such as at airports and on public or international transport.” On 14 July, the Secretary of State for Transport stated in a television interview that he “expected, and indeed, wanted” some train, bus and rail companies to insist on mask-wearing on their services and he publicly backed the decision to keep the wearing of them compulsory on London’s public transport services (except for those who are exempt).

On 15 July 2021, TfL decided to retain the requirement, under paragraph 2.4 of its Conditions of Carriage, for customers and passengers to wear a face covering on the TfL network. TfL’s decision on 15 July 2021 was taken under its statutory powers contained in section 173(1), and Schedule 11, paragraphs 1(1) and 32 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 (as amended). The Mayor did not direct TfL to take this decision but requested it to do so.

A copy of the papers comprising TfL’s decision is enclosed. These papers contain the information and scientific evidence considered by TfL in taking this decision:

1.         TfL Conditions of Carriage and Byelaws - Face Coverings post 19 July 2021- Memo to the Commissioner
a)         Appendix 1 Appendix Commissioner's Memo - Face Coverings on TfL public transport
b)         Appendix 2 STAC Advice
c)         Appendix 3 Face coverings - HS risk assessment (July 2021)
d)         Appendix 4 REqIA Introduction of face coverings 15.7.21
2.         Follow up email Howard Carter to TfL Commissioner [Notice to cease and desist]
3.         Response from Commissioner

In accordance with the FOI Act, some of the information contained in the attached documents has been removed as it is subject to a statutory exemption to the right of access to information under section 42. In this instance the exemption has been applied as some of the information you have requested relates directly to the seeking, provision, and result of legal advice.

Section 42 of the Freedom of Information Act exempts legally privileged information, including legal advice, from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. There is a very strong element of public interest inbuilt into the concept of Legal Professional Privilege and this has long been recognised, by the Information Commissioner, the Information Tribunal and the courts, and it reflects the importance of legal advice being sought, and given, in confidence as a fundamental condition on which the administration of justice rests. There is an inherent public interest in TfL being able to obtain full and frank legal advice, and this is consistent with TfL’s responsibility to analyse and address legal risks and issues.

Additionally, in accordance with our obligations under Data Protection legislation some personal data has been removed, as required by section 40(2) of the FOI Act. This is because disclosure of this personal data would be a breach of the legislation, specifically the first principle of Article 5 of the UK General Data Protection Regulation which requires all processing of personal data to be fair and lawful. It would not be fair to disclose this personal information when the individuals have no expectation it would be disclosed and TfL has not satisfied one of the conditions which would make the processing ‘fair’.

This exemption to the right of access to information is an absolute exemption and not subject to an assessment of whether the public interest favours use of the exemption.

The Mayor committed to make the wearing of face coverings a condition of carriage on TfL services, but this does not come with the same enforcement capability as we had under the previous restrictions. We can prevent people from entering our network or request they leave and our operational officers continue to do this and to routinely remind passengers of the need to wear face coverings. We have not received any additional funding as this activity now forms part of their regular activities. Our frontline staff at gate lines and bus drivers also continue to remind people that face coverings are a requirement. The MPS and BTP also still provide a visible presence on the TfL network to deter crime and anti-social behaviour.

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable to access it for some reason, please feel free to contact me.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Gemma Jacob
Senior FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

[email protected]


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