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Question: Will YOU wear a mask when using public transport after 19th July?  (Voting closed: July 10, 2021, 05:18:27 am)
Yes - all of the time - 5 (11.1%)
Yes - most of the time - 11 (24.4%)
Only in limited busy / enclosed areas - 21 (46.7%)
No, I will not wear a mask - 6 (13.3%)
I will not be using public transport - 2 (4.4%)
I am not yet decided - 0 (0%)
Total Voters: 45

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Author Topic: Mask wearing on and after 19th July - your personal choice  (Read 3613 times)
LiskeardRich
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« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2021, 09:33:03 am »

In recent weeks I’ve used the train for 2 leisure journeys.
1 train I had the carriage to myself (the online booking form said it was a busy service but that’s another story)
The 2nd was full and standing.

The former probably wouldn’t even consider wearing a mask, the latter 100% wearing one
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« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2021, 09:37:55 am »

The former probably wouldn’t even consider wearing a mask, the latter 100% wearing one

I guess that’s exactly the common sense approach that’s being asked for.
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« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2021, 11:25:20 am »

Having said I will not be using public transport (because I am not making any journeys at the moment that I could do on public transport, even though I am temporarily not able to drive). I will continue to wear a mask in indoor places and if places where where there are crowds, close proximity, or where I am for a long period do not insist on mask wearing then they will not get my business at least untill the number of cases reduces. 
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grahame
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« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2021, 05:19:39 am »

Will YOU wear a mask when using public transport after 19th July?  (Voting closed at 05:18:27 am)
Yes - all of the time   - 5 (11.1%)
Yes - most of the time   - 11 (24.4%)
Only in limited busy / enclosed areas   - 21 (46.7%)
No, I will not wear a mask   - 6 (13.3%)
I will not be using public transport   - 2 (4.4%)
I am not yet decided   - 0 (0%)

Many thanks for your votes and comments.

TravelWatch SouthWest has been in touch with the major train operators in their area, and with Passenger Focus. Starting with Passenger Focus (and I am cherry picking from a long message ((here))):
Quote
44% agree that as long as passengers are wearing face coverings, reducing the social distancing on public transport makes sense to them. 51% say that they won’t use public transport unless social distancing is in place. 58% agree that they won’t use public transport unless passengers are required to wear face coverings.
They have also a segmentation analysis.

From one of my fellow directors at TWSW» (TravelWatch SouthWest - website):
Quote
There has clearly been considerable push-back against the proposed relaxation, while polling shows a majority for retaining mandatory face coverings on public transport.
 
Grant Schapps, interviewed today, conceded that transport operators have the legal right to insist on face coverings as part of (he said) 'Conditions of Carriage'; he cited EasyJet as having decided to exercise that right, in continuing insistence on face coverings.
 
It seems unreasonable that passengers, especially vulnerable ones, should be put at risk by the decisions taken by medically ignorant individuals.

What of the bus and train operators in our region?  Can TWSW put these points to them, and get a commitment to continuation of mandatory face coverings until the wave has passed?

Here are comments on dicsussions with key interfaces at GWR (Great Western Railway) and SWR» (South Western Railway - about):

Quote
Xxxx says GWR have not yet determined their best tac on the wearing of masks.   They are waiting on official guidance, market research and the Unions. For now, the mask signs stay up.  They have concerns that PT may become the sole perceived area of risk if it is singled out for mask wearing.  It may be interesting to see what compared attitudes to transport are like in Japan.

Quote
Xxxx Xxxxxxx says SWR are waiting on ORR» (Office of Rail and Road formerly Office of Rail Regulation - about) guidance but still stressing personal responsibility to wear masks on busy trains.  Unions, ORR and risk assessment.  Opportunity to be more consistent?  People clearly willing to come back.

* With the move from franchises to operating contracts funded by the Government, the TOCs (Train Operating Company) seem much more micromanaged at present, and may be told what to do rather than having (much) choice.

* Most people say that they will continue to wear masks where it makes sense on public transport - however I am not 100% convinced how long that will last, or even whether people would stick to their intent or whether wearing would rapidly slip if it wasn't mandated.

* Could there be a significant loss of rail traffic if the mask mandate becomes "masks optional" as people - especially the more vulnerable - fear that it's not as safe as it could be any longer, and stay away from public transport?
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« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2021, 03:09:54 pm »

* Could there be a significant loss of rail traffic if the mask mandate becomes "masks optional" as people - especially the more vulnerable - fear that it's not as safe as it could be any longer, and stay away from public transport?
That cuts both ways. There will be those who feel that travelling on public transport is too high-risk if masks are optional. However, if masks remain mandatory there will be others who choose to travel by road (or not travel at all) because mask wearing is uncomfortable and not something they are willing to do for an optional journey. I am now double-vaccinated so might have taken one of my rail-based holidays (which were cancelled altogether last year due to COVID) but the idea of sitting on a train for hours no longer appeals to me if I would have to wear a mask. So I haven't been on a train since 2019, or on a bus since the mask wearing rules came into force. I just hope COVID goes away sufficiently that I can have a mask-free railway holiday later this year (I'm thinking about early October).

It looks to be catch-22 for those of us who hope to see public transport usage both recover to pre-pandemic levels and indeed grow beyond that with modal shift away from private car use.
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« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2021, 08:14:41 am »

Will YOU wear a mask when using public transport after 19th July?  (Voting closed at 05:18:27 am)
Yes - all of the time   - 5 (11.1%)
Yes - most of the time   - 11 (24.4%)
Only in limited busy / enclosed areas   - 21 (46.7%)
No, I will not wear a mask   - 6 (13.3%)
I will not be using public transport   - 2 (4.4%)
I am not yet decided   - 0 (0%)

From Mail Online

Quote
An exclusive poll for MailOnline has found that 72 per cent of the public are likely to don coverings to go on the train, Tube or bus after they become voluntary on 'Freedom Day'.


It's not an exclusive pol, of coursel - we did it here first!!   Their answer rather backs up our prior research  Grin and I will admit the numbers interviewed are probably much more significant and the sampling rather less self-selecting.
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grahame
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« Reply #21 on: July 12, 2021, 08:32:07 am »

Coffee Shop and other inputs to TravelWatch SouthWest have been noted ... as have wider surveys and expert and government comment.   Following up, there has been a scurry of emails and drafts around between the elected board members of TWSW» (TravelWatch SouthWest - website) over the weekend, and communications are being sent to our operators across the South West.   The following text is the base / generic letter; for the largest operators, tailored letters are being sent based on current stance, current web site, and record on the topic.

Quote
The purpose of this communication is to urge you to continue requiring passengers to wear masks when using your services.  This reflects the strength of concern that has come to us from people throughout the southwest.  TravelWatch SouthWest exists to promote the interests of public transport users and potential users throughout the region, has received strong expressions of concern from people throughout the region and we would be failing in our role as a community interest company if we were not to share these concerns with you.

In his appearance before the Commons’ Transport Select Committee last week, the Secretary of State emphasised the responsibility of each transport operator to decide whether or not to make mask wearing a requirement, each being free to set their own conditions of carriage. Public opinion research makes it clear that a significant majority of the public wish to see continued wearing of masks on public transport while research conducted for the Government’s own passenger watchdog reports that the majority of potential users say that they will not use public transport unless face coverings are a requirement. 

An Opinium poll for the Observer published on Sunday found that 73% of people now believe wearing masks on public transport should continue.  This result is similar to those obtained by Ipsos MORI for The Economist last week which reported that 70% wished to see face masks continue to be compulsory in shops and on public transport for 1 month after 19th July while almost two in three (64%) would like it to remain in place ‘until coronavirus is under control worldwide’.  The most recent results from Transport Focus’s weekly Travel During Covid-19 Survey (fieldwork 2-4 July) report that 56% of public transport users say they will not use public transport unless face coverings are a requirement.  The majority of public transport users clearly see the wearing of masks as important to their personal safety.

This must surely resonate with your company. 

Any decision to drop mask-wearing would be hard to reconcile with the reputation of the Group for its commitment to its safety culture, and the Company’s claim that its absolute priority is safety, quite apart from the way it would reflect corporate disdain for the well-being of its passengers and front-line staff.

The Secretary of State made the point that there is a distinction to be made between the use of masks on public transport that people need to take, and their use in those locations to which people go for non-essential discretionary activity – such as nightclubs.  There is surely an ethical responsibility to support those who have no realistic choice other than to use or work in public transport, for example by minimising their exposure to behaviour that brings unnecessary risk, such as the refusal of others to wear masks. 

There is also corporate self-interest.  We want to see a resurgence of public transport use.  We know from research by Transport Focus and others that a significant proportion of those who used public transport before the pandemic would not feel safe using it currently.  Official guidance has almost certainly contributed to perceptions of public transport as ‘unhygienic’ or ‘potentially ‘unsafe’.  Relaxing the rules on the use of masks is likely to accentuate these fears and slow the return to its usage.   

There is surely a moral duty on both individuals and companies to do what we can to protect the vulnerable, whether passengers or staff, and to mitigate the fears of the anxious whilst rebuilding confidence in public transport.  The requirement to wear masks should continue.


This communication from TWSW, when added to other inputs received, should remind operators that the power to set masking rules on public transport is in their hands, and that appropriate rules (not just "you choose, Mr Passenger" guidance) make sense and will be welcomed by the majority.
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Gordon the Blue Engine
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« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2021, 10:55:07 am »

Is it a coincidence that those favouring “rules” tend to be those on the left of politics eg the unions? Personal freedom is of course anathema to them, and wearing a mask is seen by some as a badge of dutiful and unquestioning compliance with those in authority.

Wearing a mask is an attack on my freedom to decide what I think is best for myself and others.  I probably would wear a mask on a busy train or bus, but I am capable of making that decision myself and do not need others to tell me.

I don’t like the tone of Travelwatch Southwest’s letter. “..disdain for the well-being of its passengers and front-line staff”?.  That is shallow and emotive, and appears to be trying to shame GWR (Great Western Railway) into doing what TWSW» (TravelWatch SouthWest - website) wants. 

Finally, those who worry (and there are always those who worry) or have particular medical problems that increase their susceptibility to respiratory infection can wear a surgical grade face mask that protects them as the wearer, which is probably better for them than relying on the variable quality of masks worn by their fellow passengers.   
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ellendune
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« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2021, 05:38:34 pm »

Finally, those who worry (and there are always those who worry) or have particular medical problems that increase their susceptibility to respiratory infection can wear a surgical grade face mask that protects them as the wearer, which is probably better for them than relying on the variable quality of masks worn by their fellow passengers.   

But this forgets that wearing a mask protects others from you infecting (when you have covid but no symptoms) them much more than it protects you from infected people.  Medical grade FFP2 or FFP3 masks do provide better protection but are understandably in very short supply and need to be kept for healthcare workers treating covid patients. 

In my opinion those who will not wear masks in indoor spaces are very selfish. 
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2021, 06:14:51 pm »

Going by today's Press conference, it seems the expectation is that masks will continue to be worn on public transport after next Monday.

Seems eminently sensible.
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grahame
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« Reply #25 on: July 13, 2021, 05:06:24 am »

From The BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page)

Quote
Covid: Bus and train firms must decide whether to require masks

The government has said bus and train companies must decide whether passengers will be required to wear face coverings on their services from Monday, when Covid rules are relaxed.

Face masks have been mandatory on public transport for the past year to reduce the spread of the virus.

But those rules will be replaced with government guidance advising passengers to wear masks only on busy services.

Transport firms will be left to decide whether to enforce that advice and how.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said masks would still be "recommended" on public transport, but people without a face covering would no longer be fined after restrictions are eased on 19 July.

Nevertheless, bus and train companies will still be able to turn away passengers who refuse to wear one - unless they are exempt.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said it was "up to them" to decide whether to make face coverings compulsory for passengers.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the safest option would be to continue to legally require people to wear masks on public transport.

His comments came as Labour criticised the government's approach to unlocking in England as "high risk" and "fatalistic".

While virtually all legal restrictions in England will be lifted on Monday, some guidance will remain.

There will no longer be any limits on how many people can meet and the 1m-plus distancing rule will be removed.

Nightclubs will also be allowed to reopen for the first time since March 2020 and capacity limits will be removed for all venues and events.

But nightclubs and other venues with large crowds will be encouraged to use Covid status certification - so-called domestic vaccine passports - "as a matter of social responsibility", Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.

Government guidance to work from home where possible will be lifted, but ministers are encouraging a gradual return to the workplace.

On face coverings, Mr Johnson said: "We expect and recommend that people wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you come into contact with those you don't normally meet, such as on public transport."

Followed by

Quote
Analysis by Caroline Davies, transport correspondent

Transport companies have been weighing up whether to mandate masks or not. If you're flying, chances are you will still need to wear one; many airlines have decided to keep masks as a requirement for travel.

But most train, bus and coach operators in England will now decide they won't be mandatory, following the lead set by rail and passenger groups.

Companies will still ask passengers to wear masks when services are busy. But there's concern among many transport operators that a blanket requirement could make people think that public transport is more dangerous than other indoor settings, like restaurants and pubs. We haven't yet heard from the London Mayor about whether masks will be required on Transport for London-run services.

Wales and Scotland both still require anyone travelling on public transport to wear a mask by law, meaning that those taking services that cross the border from England will have notices reminding them to wear a face covering unless exempt. It is the second time this has happened during the course of the pandemic.

The article goes on to quote comment from

...The Confederation of Passenger Transport - a trade group representing bus and coach companies

Quote
passengers will find it "difficult to understand" why the prime minister has "singled out public transport as somewhere to wear a face covering when a range of other activities share its characteristics."

The group said it wanted clear guidance for operators and customers, adding that it was important to respect everyone's right to choose whether to wear a face covering once restrictions had eased.

... The Rail Delivery Group, which represents train companies

Quote
members would ask passengers to wear face coverings in busy indoor settings "out of respect for others".

It said enhanced cleaning would continue after 19 July and train companies would provide better information about how busy services are

... Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford

Quote
confirmed masks would continue to be required on public transport and in healthcare settings "even if" the nation relaxes restrictions, which are due to be reviewed on 15 July.

... The prime minister

Quote
said it was vital to proceed with "caution" in England after 19 July, warning "this pandemic is not over" .

For Northern Ireland and Scotland, the article tells us ...

Quote
Rules regarding face coverings are due to be considered next month in Northern Ireland, which is due to ease some Covid measures on 26 July.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is due to make an announcement about restrictions on Tuesday. Scotland is expected to move to level 0 - the lowest level of restrictions in its roadmap - on 19 July and lift most legal restrictions on 9 August.

... and gives us current background ...

Quote
The peak of the current wave is not expected before mid-August and could lead to between 1,000 and 2,000 hospital admissions per day, according to government scientists.

Central estimates from modellers advising the government also show that Covid deaths are expected to be between 100 and 200 per day at the peak, although there is a large amount of uncertainty.

More than 45.9 million people - or 87% of adults in the UK (United Kingdom) - have now had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. And more than 34.8 million - around two-thirds of adults - have had both doses.



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LiskeardRich
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« Reply #26 on: July 13, 2021, 09:43:56 am »

We’ve been told by our unions not to enforce mask wearing to avoid potential conflict whilst it’s been a legal requirement.
Are the unions honestly going to tell us to enforce now it’s not a legal requirement?
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« Reply #27 on: July 13, 2021, 12:20:56 pm »

FFP2 grade masks are not that difficult to find these days at a not ridiculous price, especially ones with ear-loops. These might not really be good enough for being in a close medical environment but are still a step up for general personal protection from the basic surgical or cloth mask if they fit well enough. I moved to these personally for public transport or crowded indoor areas a month or so ago and don't find them any more uncomfortable but maybe I just have a good matching head shape!

The thing that has been worse than useless on its own through all this is a face shield.
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« Reply #28 on: July 13, 2021, 01:33:43 pm »

We’ve been told by our unions not to enforce mask wearing to avoid potential conflict whilst it’s been a legal requirement.
Are the unions honestly going to tell us to enforce now it’s not a legal requirement?

My heart is telling me that I will decline any passenger not wearing a mask (having asked them to put one on please) travel on my bus.
Unwilling passenger would be asked to try the next service.
However, this could/will cause potential conflict; so will I actually go through with it.

Does my learned friend above have similar thoughts?
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« Reply #29 on: July 13, 2021, 02:08:51 pm »

On the trains the general advice was that you could ask/request/remind but were not expected to do anything more, especially if you were on your own like a bus driver usually would be.
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