Between 80 and 90% of passengers on trams, buses and trains have been seen wearing a face covering for their journey since Monday 15 June - the date from when the Department for Transport (DfT) made it compulsory.
Transport bosses are thanking passengers that have complied during the first week, but are reminding those still travelling without a covering of their responsibility to protect themselves and others.
Officers from the Greater Manchester Police Transport Unit, British Transport Police and TravelSafe officers who regularly patrol the network will also be encouraging passengers to follow the new rule.
As a last resort, they can issue a £100 fine to any passenger who doesn’t have a justifiable reason not to be wearing a face covering and who then refuses to comply when asked not to board a vehicle or to leave a vehicle if already on board. Failure to pay the fine is a criminal offence.
There are several exemptions, including children under the age of 11, anyone with a disability or condition which means they are unable to wear one, transport staff and emergency services.
A new Journey Assist card has also been launched by TFGM to help those who are exempt from wearing a face covering.
The card, which can be downloaded to a device or printed off and used as a flash pass, is available by contacting TFGM’s customer team on 0161 244 1000 or through the TfGM website contact form
The card will also be available in Travelshops across Greater Manchester. Passengers who carry Journey Assistance cards from transport operators can continue to use them also.
TfGM Customer Director, Stephen Rhodes, said: “It has been pleasing to see the vast majority of those making essential journeys this week wearing a face covering and I would like to thank them for their consideration and responsible behaviour.
“We understand that some people are unable to wear a covering for various reasons and so have been working with groups representing people with a disability or health condition to develop this new card which they can show to explain they are exempt.
“However, for those who can and choose not to wear a covering, I would like to remind them of their responsibility to protect themselves and others and strongly urge them to reconsider.
“Enforcement won’t be heavy handed, but passengers should be aware that this is a national direction and failure to comply could see them hit with a £100 fine.”
A face covering isn’t the same as a surgical face mask. It can be a scarf or bandana, or can be made at home. A supply of spare coverings is available from Travelshops but customers should provide their own where possible.
DfT guidance states that public transport drivers are exempt from wearing face coverings as it can affect their ability to drive. They are enclosed in their cabs or behind screens in most cases and are following all other hygiene precautions laid down by their employers for controlling coronavirus.
Passengers who must make essential journeys are still being encouraged to walk or cycle where possible and avoid peak times. Anyone who must use public transport is still being advised to plan their journey in advance, allow extra time to travel and be prepared to wait for the next service if one is full.
For information on public transport across Greater Manchester visit www.tfgm.com, call 0161 244 1000 (7am-8pm, Monday to Friday, and 8am-8pm at weekends and bank holidays) or follow @OfficialTfGM on Twitter.