Students and young people across Greater Manchester are being urged to follow the coronavirus rules and wear face coverings on public transport.
Police and transport operators have joined forces to stage a series of engagement events aimed at reminding students and young people of the vital importance of travelling safely and wearing face coverings when travelling by bus, tram and train.
The TravelSafe Partnership (TSP) has held a number of targeted days of action at busy transport interchanges and tram stops over the last two weeks, focused on young public transport users travelling to and from schools, colleagues and universities.
Working alongside officers from Greater Manchester Police's Transport Unit, TSP staff have been patrolling key areas ensuring students and pupils using the network are aware of the latest advice to help stop the spread of coronavirus:
- Wear a face covering (unless exempt)
- Keep a safe distance apart (1m+)
- Wash or sanitise your hands frequently (before and after travel)
- Use contactless payment
The joint deployments, which will continue to run for the next few weeks, are being held in response to concerns being raised about some students failing to follow safe travel guidelines on public transport services.
Since 28 September, members of the TravelSafe Partnership have held 10 days of action covering areas in Bury, Wigan, Leigh, Altrincham, Oldham, Salford and Manchester, speaking to thousands of students aged 11-19 and handing out face coverings where required.
Transport for Greater Manchester Customer Director, Stephen Rhodes, said: “It is absolutely essential that those people who must use public transport, and have no alternative, can do so in confidence and in as safe an environment as possible.
“Unfortunately, we have received a number of reports of young people flaunting the guidelines on some services, and as such we have acted swiftly to educate those disregarding the safety of themselves and others.
“These targeted days of action give us an excellent opportunity to interact with students, young people and other passengers in an open-air environment while they are out on the network and explain exactly how important their actions are in terms of keeping themselves and others safe.
“We will continue to hold these days of action and ensure that young people accessing education across the region remain aware of their responsibilities when travelling.”
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, 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.
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.
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