Almost 4,000 fined for breaking mask rules on London transport

Almost 4,000 people were issued with fixed-penalty notices (FPNs) for not wearing a face covering on public transport in London when it was compulsory to do so, and thousands more were prevented from travelling or told to leave the capital’s network, official figures show.

Mandatory wearing of masks on Transport for London (TfL) services was put in place to help stop the spread of Covid-19. Face coverings stopped being a condition of carriage from 24 February this year after the shift in the government’s approach towards living with coronavirus.

A total of 3,996 FPNs were issued to people for not complying with the requirement to wear a face covering between 24 February 2021 and 27 January 2022, the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said.

In the same period, TfL prevented 7,283 people from travelling and directed 2,325 people to leave the network. TfL did not record face covering compliance activity between 27 January and 24 February 2022.

The data was published after a question from a London assembly member. Khan said: “The safety of TfL’s customers and staff is always its top priority. A range of measures helped to ensure customers can travel safely and confidently on TfL’s services during the pandemic, including requiring face coverings as a condition of carriage both before and after they were a legal requirement, and continuing to strongly encourage them today.”

The release of the data coincides with the publication of a report that has laid bare the partying culture within Downing Street at the same time, where officials discussed how they “got away with” drinks parties.

Johnson has apologised to the Commons for the law-breaking that went on in Downing Street, including his own actions, but has insisted he did not mislead parliament when he said all rules had been followed. “I am humbled and I have learned a lesson,” he told MPs.

The Labour leader, Keir Starmer, said: “It is now impossible to defend the prime minister’s words to this house. This is about trust. Because during that May 20 press conference the British public were told normal life as we know it is a long way off. But that wasn’t the case in No 10.”

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