Khan is ‘not prepared’ to put tube, tram and other transport users in the capital ‘at risk’
Mr Khan said he was “not prepared” to put tube, tram and other transport users in the capital “at risk” by removing the rules on face coverings after so-called Freedom Day.
It comes after Boris Johnson announced on Monday that the vast majority of Covid lockdown restrictions would be scrapped next week, including compulsory mask wearing in indoor public settings.
The prime minister did urge people to take “personal responsibility” in continuing to wear masks in “crowded and enclosed spaces”.
But his City Hall successor has called for TfL to go further by continuing to mandate their use for passengers who use the tube, bus, tram, Docklands Light Railway (DLR), Overground and TfL Rail.
It means passengers on these services would need to continue to wear a face covering in stations and for the duration of their journey unless they are exempt.
Mr Khan has also asked TfL to put measures in place to help ensure the continued use of masks in taxis and private hire vehicles by both drivers and passengers unless they are exempt.
“I’ve repeatedly made clear that the simplest and safest option would have been for the Government to retain the national requirement for face coverings on public transport,” Mr Khan said.
“I’m not prepared to stand by and put Londoners, and our city’s recovery, at risk.
“This is why, after careful consideration, I have decided to ask TfL to retain the requirement for passengers to wear a face covering on all TfL services when the national regulations change.
“By keeping face masks mandatory we will give Londoners and visitors the reassurance and confidence to make the most of what our city has to offer, while also protecting our heroic transport workers and those who may be vulnerable and rely on the network to get around our city.
“It’s an extra layer of protection on top of TfL’s world-leading enhanced cleaning regime – and I’m sure Londoners will continue to do the right thing as they have done throughout the pandemic, and continue to wear a face covering on TfL services.”
Officials said TfL enforcement officers patrolling London’s transport network, under the conditions of carriage requirement, will be able to refuse entry to people not wearing masks and who are not exempt, and would also be able to ask people to leave services for failure to comply with the requirement.
Conditions of carriage are contractual conditions between passengers and TfL, with existing conditions including not consuming alcohol, which is also enforced by a byelaw.
TfL said that over the past year almost 212,000 people have been stopped by enforcement officers from getting on the network until they put on a face covering.
Almost 14,000 people have been prevented from boarding and around 3,200 were ejected from services.
In total, 4,300 fixed penalty notices have been issued since the mask wearing rules came in last year, it said.
A Government spokesperson said: “As we’ve set out, we’re moving from a universal Government diktat to relying on people’s personal responsibility.
“The guidance is clear that people are expected and recommended to wear a mask when they come into contact with people they don’t normally meet in enclosed and crowded spaces.
“It is open to transport operators to decide if they want to take further measures.”
Additional reporting by PA