Face coverings required on public transport to help prevent the spread of Omicron

Greater Manchester residents have been advised that they will need to follow targeted and temporary measures – including wearing face coverings on all forms of public transport - to help prevent the spread of the new Omicron variant.

The government legislation, which is in place from today, makes it a legal requirement for passengers to wear face coverings on all forms of public transport - unless exempt – including on trams, trains and buses. The rules also apply to Metrolink stops, bus and railway stations and other transport interchanges. Those using taxis and private hire vehicles must also wear a face covering.

Stephen Rhodes, Customer Director at TfGM, said: “To help keep our passengers and staff safe, the wearing of face coverings has continued to be a requirement locally – unless exempt – for those using the Metrolink network, bus stations and interchanges since the summer.  

“Now as a part of the latest government measures to slow the spread of the Omicron variant in the UK, you must, by law, wear a face covering on all public transport across England as a whole.  

“To date, the focus of our teams has been on education, engagement and encouraging passengers to wear a face covering to help keep themselves and others safe, with enforcement a last resort.

The TravelSafe Partnership, which is jointly led by TfGM and GMP Transport Unit, alongside transport operators, has already completed in excess of 50 days of action and handed out thousands of masks - which will remain available and free at all transport interchanges - to customers.” 

A series of engagement events will also be taking place over the next few days which will see transport staff out and about to inform, engage and educate people of the new rules and hand out free face coverings and hand sanitiser at key stops in Manchester city centre and in Rochdale, Bury and Ashton. Information posters will be displayed and social media updates will be issued.  

Danny Vaughan, Head of Metrolink at TfGM, said: “Wearing a face covering helps to keep the most vulnerable safe while they are travelling and helps to slow the spread of the Omicron variant, so please wear one unless you are exempt. 

“We’ve already seen a significant increase in the number of people wearing face coverings on Metrolink services on day one of the new regulations, so I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone for that.  

“I’d also like to remind people that services will be busier during the festive season, so consider travelling at quieter times if you can and continue to follow safe travel advice to help keep each other safe - wear a face covering, clean your hands regularly, pay using contactless and leave the windows open when you travel.” 

To help keep each other safe passengers are asked to follow the current safety measures:  

  • You must wear a face covering on all forms of public transport, unless exempt, including rail, tram, bus and Ring and Ride services, as well as rail and bus stations and Metrolink stops
  • Where possible open windows to maintain fresh air flow and ventilation
  • Clean your hands frequently by washing with soap and water or using hand sanitiser
  • Use contactless payment if you can
  • Services are likely to be busier - if you can, travel during quieter times
  • Consider walking or cycling, particularly for short trips
  • Please be kind and consider fellow passengers when travelling on public transport

Contact Information

Transport for Greater Manchester Press Office

0161 244 1055