Face coverings are now compulsory on public transport in Scotland as the country eases lockdown measures.
Children under five and people with certain medical conditions are exempt from the new rule which comes into force today. It comes one week after England adopted similar rules regarding face coverings on public transport.
The rule covers trains, buses, the Glasgow Subway, Edinburgh trams, aircraft, enclosed areas onboard ferries, taxis and private hire cabs.
The government in Scotland are urging the public to continue to limit travelling on public transport.
Scotland First Minster Nicola Sturgeon said that face coverings will reduce the transmission of coronavirus, but washing hands, physical distancing and “good hygiene” were still necessary to prevent infection.
As the new rules on face coverings come in, ScotRail has confirmed that masks are available at 18 of its busiest stations for a limited period.
David Simpson, operations director, said: “The position on face coverings is now absolutely clear and we are urging customers to take collective responsibility and follow the Scottish government rules on their mandatory use.
“But Scotland’s Railway can’t guarantee physical distancing at all stages of a customer’s journey.
“The message remains the same as it has been since the start of the pandemic: only travel if your journey is essential.”
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson appealed to people to leave space on buses and trains for the elderly and needy.
He also urged employers to carefully manage their phased returning of staff to work, with figures suggesting that up to 55% of employees could travel to their normal workplace in phase two, which started on 18 June.
It could also result in an increase in the number of passengers on public transport by around by a third from the current levels of around 225,000 per day.
Mr Matheson said: “First of all I want to pay tribute to those transport operators and workers who have kept Scotland’s key workers moving in recent months, during an incredibly testing time.
“We are now in a position to enter phase two of the route map, however we must do so with great caution, as we cannot risk a resurgence of the virus and wasting all of the good work to date in terms of respecting boundaries and working from home.
“Transport has a vital role to play in helping restart the economy, but there is a clear and great need for personal and collective responsibility when travelling, especially by public transport.
Guidance for commuters
- Stay at home if you or anyone in your household is experiencing coronavirus symptoms (new continuous dry cough, fever or the loss of or a change in your sense of smell or taste) or if you are self-isolating or you are shielding.
- Only travel if your journey is essential, for example, for work or shopping.
- Consider walking or cycling, if you can, to reduce pressure on the road network and on public transport where capacity will be limited
- Plan your journey and leave additional time due to temporary restrictions or changes to previous timetables or schedules
- Pay for your journey online, use smart ticketing, the operator’s mobile app, or contactless payment, if you can, to reduce cash handling
- Comply with any signage or instructions on public transport or from transport staff as the safety measures in place are for everyone’s benefit
- When travelling on public transport or in a taxi or private hire vehicle or when you are in a bus or railway station, enclosed ferry terminal or airport you must wear a face covering.
- Keep yourself and others safe by maintaining the 2 metre physical distance rule
- Where impossible to maintain 2 metre distancing, avoid physical contact and face away from others, keep the time you spend within 2 metres of others as short as possible
- Be considerate of the impact of restrictions on the needs of fellow passengers who may have impairments, disabilities or mobility issues
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use a hand sanitiser before and after every transport journey.
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