Reading Buses want customers to be clear on the new face coverings legislation to ensure that everyone knows what is expected of them.
According to the operator, they have had feedback from customers that the drivers are not complying with the new law, either by letting people travel without face coverings, or the drivers not wearing them. However, the company say that the drivers are following the new legislation and the Government’s own ‘engage, explain, encourage’ approach.
Reading Buses Marketing and Communications Manager Jake Osman said today:
“The Government guidance says that they expect a high proportion of the public to comply and asks operators to engage with customers, explain the rules and then encourage them to wear a face covering which is now mandatory.
“All customers should expect to be asked by our drivers about wearing a face covering when they get on the bus if they are not actually wearing one, and if necessary to be reminded that it is now the law. “There are several reasonable exceptions that the Government have confirmed for young children and those with disabilities – all of which are published on our website. Forgetting, or lack of awareness, is not one of them!
“We would like to emphasise, however, that our drivers are not there to police the law, they are there to help our customers and drive the bus. The new legislation makes it clear that although operators do have the power to deny travel, it is at their discretion and not their sole responsibility.
“The police themselves may opt to issue fines or warnings should they see someone breaking the law. “With regard to drivers themselves, they do not need to wear a face. “This is mainly due to the fact that our buses have screens that enclose the driver and keep them separated from customers – and there are various additional risks associated with wearing them for long spells of driving.
“We are, however, encouraging our drivers to wear coverings to help set an example to customers and require them to be worn whilst getting on and off the bus or when helping customers outside of the cab. But we wish to reiterate that it is not a requirement by law for them to do so.”
Jake added: “We hope that most of the public are now aware of the fact that they need to wear a face covering when on the bus, unless they fall into the exempt groups.
“Hopefully, all the effort that has gone into notices on buses, social media and our website has helped to further get the government’s message out that customers must wear a face covering on the bus.”
More information is available at www.reading-buses.co.uk