Do I still need to wear a mask on UK public transport?

TfL has dropped its mask mandate but says face coverings are still ‘recommended’

Helen Coffey
Thursday 24 February 2022 11:54 GMT

As Boris Johnson’s “Living with Covid” strategy kicks in from 24 February, all of England’s remaining legal domestic coronavirus restrictions have been dropped.

Testing and self-isolation are no longer a legal requirement, even for those who have symptoms of Covid-19.

But what are the rules for travelling on public transport; are masks still mandatory on trains, tubes and buses?

Do you have to wear a mask on UK trains and buses?

Since 27 January, there is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering on trains and buses in England.

However, “train operators in England are still encouraging the wearing of face coverings if you can, as a courtesy to others,” reads the advice from National Rail.

If you are travelling within Wales or Scotland it is still mandatory to wear a face covering on public transport.

Transport Scotland says: “You must wear a face covering when using public transport in order to prevent the transmission of the Covid-19 virus.”

Exemptions apply for children under 12 years of age - as well as those with particular health conditions who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of any physical or mental illness, impairment or disability; or without severe distress.

Wearing a face covering on public transport also remains law in Wales.

“You must continue to wear a face covering on all our services for the duration of your journey, unless you’re exempt,” says Transport for Wales.

Do you have to wear a mask on the London Underground and London buses?

Face masks are no longer required for passengers travelling on bus and train services in London, the capital’s transport authority has announced.

Transport for London (TfL) kept face coverings mandatory in January while they were being phased out nationally in other places such as shops.

But having considered the government’s approach towards “living with the virus” and a “variety of other factors”, including falling case numbers, TfL has axed the mask mandate.

However, the authority said it would “strongly” recommend that passengers continue to wear face masks if they are able to, in a bid to reduce transmission of the virus.

The changes are effective from 24 February.

Do you have to wear a mask in Ubers and taxis?

Uber has changed its Covid policy in response to the new government guidance.

“Wearing face coverings will no longer be mandatory for riders and drivers, but we still strongly encourage their continued use,” reads the updated advice.

The government’s advice for drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles in England states: “There is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering. The government suggests that you continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet.

“Your licensing authority or operator may ask you to wear a face covering. You should follow their guidance if it does not affect your ability to drive safely.”

However, this advice does not yet apply to Wales and Scotland, where face coverings remain mandatory.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in