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Passengers urged to wear face coverings at high-profile day of action

Police and transport staff have once again joined forces to highlight the fact people using public transport must wear a face covering unless exempt.  

A pre-Christmas day of action, which took place yesterday (Wednesday 23 December) at Victoria station, saw officers from Greater Manchester Police’s Transport Unit working with TravelSafe Partnership (TSP) staff and the new Metrolink trambassadors to engage with public transport users and educate them about the importance of wearing a face covering. 

The event also saw 500 face coverings distributed amongst those travelling alighting or boarding between 10am and 2pm.  

The latest passenger counts show that, on average, around 84 per cent of passengers are wearing face coverings across the morning and afternoon peaks while travelling on the Metrolink. 

When taking to account that, between 10 and 15 per cent of people in Greater Manchester are estimated to be exempt from wearing a face covering, it shows that compliance rates are high on the network.  

During the pandemic the TSP has already run 42 days of action in 28 different locations across the region to remind passengers about the importance of wearing a face covering and other safe travel measures.  

The partnership has also distributed more than 7,000 free face coverings to passengers on the tram and bus networks, run marketing campaigns and carried out targeted work with schools to increase compliance amongst young people in specific areas. 

Transport for Greater Manchester’s Customer Director, Stephen Rhodes, said: “When it comes to face coverings compliance rates are generally very good across Greater Manchester and I'd like to thank the public for playing their part in keeping our networks as safe as possible. 

“However, we do still receive reports of people flaunting the guidelines, so it's vital that we continue to hold these days of action and speak with people about the importance of wearing a face covering. The importance of this type of activity was further reinforced by the fact we gave out 500 face coverings during our latest day of action – and more than 7,000 to date.   

“This education-first approach, which mirrors that taken by other police forces and major cities across the United Kingdom, will continue over the coming weeks into the new year and beyond. 

“That said, it's also important to emphasise that some people cannot wear a face covering for very valid and possibly unseen reasons so please consider this and show understanding when travelling.” 

The multi-agency TravelSafe Partnership, takes a problem-solving approach to preventing and deterring crime and antisocial behaviour on Greater Manchester transport. 

The Partnership shares data and intelligence and, thanks to bodycams, call points on all trams and stops, over 2000 CCTV cameras across the Metrolink network and a 24/7 control room, helps coordinate a quick response to live incidents. 

There are several exemptions to wearing face coverings, including children under the age of 11, anyone with a disability or condition which means they are unable to wear one, non-customer facing transport staff and emergency services.  

A Journey Assist card is available from 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 is also available in Travelshops across Greater Manchester. Passengers who carry Journey Assistance cards from transport operators can continue to use them also. 

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.  

Department for Transport 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. 

Contact Information

Transport for Greater Manchester Press Office

0161 244 1055

Notes to editors

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is the public body responsible for delivering Greater Manchester’s future transport strategy and commitments. 

We also deliver a wide range of day-to day public transport and active travel services and projects to keep the city-region moving and growing.  

With around six million journeys a day, we’re working hard to make travel easier through a better connected and well-informed Greater Manchester. To find out more about TfGM please visit