By Joe Talora, local democracy reporter
More than 1,700 fines have been handed out to people who refuse to wear face coverings on London public transport as TfL insists it is cracking down on those who flout the rules.
Fines of up to £660 have been issued in the seven months since face coverings became mandatory on public transport, with repeat offenders being fined as much as £1,170.
In addition to the fines, TfL has said that 128,000 people have been stopped from boarding services until they put on a face covering, and more than 2,000 people have been ejected from services for refusing.
Siwan Hayward, director of compliance, policing operations and security at TfL, said: “People should only be travelling if they have a legitimate reason and ensuring the network is safe for those customers, which include NHS and other key workers, is our top priority.
“Wearing face coverings, unless exempt, has been mandatory for seven months now and we continue to communicate the requirement in stations, on platforms and on-board services, so there really is no excuse for not wearing one properly for your entire journey when travelling on our network.
“London is at a critical point in this pandemic and this is no time to be complacent with the measures we take to protect ourselves and others.”
Despite taking a tougher stance on enforcing the use of face coverings, TfL insists that compliance remains very high and that 75 per cent of customers support the enforcement of face coverings on the network.
Chief Superintendent Martin Fry, of British Transport Police, said: “We operate across the rail, Tube and tram network in London daily, engaging with members of the public, explaining the current restrictions, encouraging compliance and where necessary issuing fines.
“I’m pleased to say our frontline officers report the vast majority of people at stations and on-board trains are wearing face coverings, or are willing to wear one when challenged.
“Coronavirus is a very real and present danger. Wearing a facemask on the rail network and abiding by the current restrictions is very important, it saves lives and ensures the railway is safe for those who absolutely need to use it, such as those who work in the NHS.”
Around 500 enforcement officers now operate across the TfL network. Fines for those who refuse to wear face coverings start at £200 and double for every repeat offence.
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