Translink welcomes news of ‘cover-up’ as face coverings become compulsory on NI Public Transport
The new rule will apply to all passengers and Translink staff in public areas, although there will be exemptions especially for those who are not able to wear a face covering for specific medical reasons and children under the age of 13.
Translink Group Chief Executive, Chris Conway explained, “We understand this will be a big change for everyone and passengers will need time to adapt to the new culture. Over the coming week our staff will be helping people to understand the new guidance and in the initial period, we plan to give away a quantity of disposable masks to get people into the habit of wearing their own face covering.
“Working together we have come a long way through this crisis; this new measure is a further collective way we can help protect each other and travel safely together – it’s easy and it’s the right thing to do.
“Our staff will also be getting involved by wearing face coverings and helping encourage others to get onboard. In addition, we will have new signage and information on how to make your own face covering on our website and social media channels to inform and reassure passengers, so they have the confidence to use our services when they need to.
“We do hope people will comply with this new regime as this simple act could save lives if we all do it together. This will be a legal requirement under the Covid-19 Public Health Legislation; however, we hope that enforcement won’t be necessary. If it is, we will work with the relevant bodies.
“That’s not to say we can be complacent, wearing a face covering is just part of the range of measures to reduce the risk of transmission. We still need to practice the wider safety and travel advice including good hand hygiene, using contactless payments, travelling off peak and social distancing.
“We will continue to carry out regular deep cleaning of vehicles and facilities, with mobile cleaning teams out during the day. We have screens in stations and on buses and have provided hand sanitiser in all main bus and train stations.
“Translink is proud to be leading the way with this campaign to change behaviours. This next step will help to rebuild public confidence in public transport as restrictions are eased across the country and more people start to return to public transport again,” Chris concluded.
People should still follow our simple safety advice to prevent the spread of the virus:
• Plan ahead by checking timetables
• Travel off-peak if you can.
• Wash or sanitise your hands frequently
• Use contactless or prepay tickets like mLink or smartcards
• Maintain social distancing
• Wear a face covering
• Do not travel if you feel unwell or have a high temperature
• Stand back to let passengers off services
Passengers are reminded to treat everyone on the network with respect and compassion, and to understand that some customers and staff will be unable to wear a face covering for medical reasons that may not be immediately obvious.
Staff are not required to wear a face covering when they are not in public areas for example the train drivers cab or on a vehicle where they are physically separated by way of a partition or a protective screen.