TfL reminds customers that face coverings must continue to be worn on its services from Monday 19 July

16 July 2021
"I urge everyone to continue to follow the advice and requirements, including to wear face coverings while traveling on our network, so that we can continue to build confidence, and get back to the many wonderful things about London that we have missed during the pandemic "

Ahead of the lifting of Government restrictions on Monday 19 July, TfL is reminding customers that they will continue to be required to wear a face covering on TfL services for the duration of their journey unless they are exempt.

This covers London Underground, London Buses, London Trams, DLR, London Overground and TfL Rail. The exemptions that exist under the current regulations will remain unchanged.

Customers not wearing a face covering may be refused entry or asked to leave the network. TfL does not tolerate any abuse of its customers or staff and will work with the police to prevent such behaviour and take action where necessary.

TfL's specially trained enforcement officers, who patrol the transport network to ensure customers and colleagues remain safe, will continue to run targeted operations.

TfL's frontline staff at gate lines and bus drivers will also continue to remind people that face coverings are a requirement. The MPS and BTP will continue to provide a visible presence on the TfL network to deter crime and anti-social behaviour.

TfL also expects and recommends the continued use of face coverings in taxis and private hire vehicles by both drivers and passengers unless they are exempt.

Frontline TfL staff will also continue to wear face coverings unless they are exempt or are working in non-public facing areas.

Confidence to use public transport

Research carried out by YouGov shows that 68% of people support the retention of face coverings on public transport at this point in the pandemic and that face coverings play an important role in giving people confidence to use public transport.

TfL customer research from 30 May to 26 June 2021 shows that 86% of customers say they are wearing face coverings at all times on TfL public transport services.

Of the 14% not wearing a face covering at all times or not at all, almost three-quarters (75%) have an exemption or good reason under the regulations for not doing so.

Customers returning to transport are encouraged to plan ahead, travel during the quieter times and walk and cycle where possible.

A near-normal service continues across the public transport network and a wide range of active travel options are available, including Santander Cycles and protected cycling and walking routes, especially in central London and the West End.

Public transport is no less safe than any other similar setting. Independent testing by Imperial College has been carried out regularly since September, taking swabs of touch points and air samples in trains, stations and buses, and has found no traces of coronavirus on the public transport system.

During the pandemic, TfL introduced a wide range of additional measures to ensure that the network is cleaner than ever, including an enhanced cleaning regime using hospital-grade substances.

More than 1,000 hand sanitiser points and more than 200 UV light devices on escalators handrails that continually kill bacteria and viruses are also keeping customers safe across the network.

Ventilation has been monitored and improved on the whole network to cut the risk of virus transmission. Buses have been modified to keep windows propped open and have also been fitted with a range of air extraction and ventilation systems.

These systems, in conjunction with open windows and frequent opening of doors, ensure that fresh air circulates throughout the vehicle.

Train and bus doors opening frequently ensures a regular exchange of air across the public transport network, while the constant movement of trains draws fresh air into the system. In the deeper Tube lines, ventilation shafts and fans supplement this air movement.

More people returning to transport

More people are now returning to public transport, with Tube ridership at around 40-45% of pre-pandemic levels and bus ridership at around 60-65%.

Confidence in travel has also risen, with 60% of people overall and 76% of people who have travelled in the last seven days saying they were confident doing so.

TfL is running a full and comprehensive bus network of around 8,000 buses every day. Capacity on buses will return to normal pre-pandemic levels, and customers are advised to make use of all available seats, with standing allowed. Customers are reminded to give up their seat for those less able to stand.

As more Londoners begin to return to the workplace, TfL is engaging with companies to encourage them to consider staggering working hours to allow staff to travel during quieter times.

The quiet times are currently between 08:15 and 16:00 and after 17:30 during the week, and before noon and after 18:00 at weekends.

TfL will continue to monitor journey data to ensure customers are aware of any changes to travel trends and quieter times.

The latest service information is available online and through TfL travel tools including the free TfL Go app. This free app provides real-time train times and information in a mobile-friendly way to enable customers travelling on Tube, bus and rail services across London to choose the easiest ways to get around, including the quieter times to travel.

Recently, it has been updated to provide real-time information on how busy a London Underground station currently is, using aggregated and depersonalised data from TfL's Wi-Fi network. The app also provides detailed accessibility data and can also suggest walking and cycling options.

Welcome customers back

If traveling to and from reopened night venues, customers are reminded that overnight Tube services are not yet operating, but TfL continues to operate a comprehensive night bus service, comprising more than 100 routes, is running between 23:00 and 06:00.

Tube services continue to run from around 05:30 until around 01:00. Those travelling at night are advised to plan their journey using TfL's travel tools.

With pay as you go with contactless and Oyster, customers can travel flexibly at quieter times by simply touching in and out and only paying for the journeys they make, reducing the need to queue or buy tickets in the station.

Pay as you go fares are also capped so customers don't have to buy a Travelcard in advance. Customers who haven't travelled for a while are reminded to watch out for 'card clash' and make sure they touch in and out at Tube and rail stations with the same card or mobile device in order to pay the correct fare.

TfL Travel Ambassadors will remain on hand to welcome customers back and provide journey advice. The ambassadors are situated at key locations across the network and are identifiable by their dressed in magenta pink tabards.

One-way systems will continue to ensure the customers can travel safely and smoothly through stations.

Andy Byford, London's Transport Commissioner, said: 'I would like to thank the vast majority of people using our services who have followed the rules and helped control the virus and keep each other, and our staff, safe.

'I urge everyone to continue to follow the advice and requirements, including to wear face coverings while traveling on our network, so that we can continue to build confidence, and get back to the many wonderful things about London that we have missed during the pandemic.

'The transport network is cleaner than ever, with an enhanced cleaning regime, hospital grade cleaning products, widely available hand sanitiser and UV light fittings on escalator handrails to kill viruses.

'It is great news that regular independent testing for the virus by Imperial College has found no trace on our services, and we are now ready to safely welcome back more and more customers from 19 July as people head out to enjoy all that the capital has to offer.'

Notes to editors

  • TfL's Conditions of Carriage apply to all TfL run services: London Buses, London Underground, Dial-a-Ride, TfL Rail, London Tram, London Overground, DLR, the Emirates Air Line, TfL's piers and TfL river services
  • TfL will shortly be launching a new multi-channel marketing campaign designed to welcome back Londoners to the public transport network. This campaign will run alongside TfL's existing campaigns encouraging active travel and providing reassurance to customers that the network is safe, clean and accessible