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Mandatory use of face coverings on public transport 'likely' to be enforced through fines

Enforcement will not begin for a number of weeks, the CEO of the National Transport Authority said.

Members of the public travelling on the Luas last week in Dublin.
Members of the public travelling on the Luas last week in Dublin.
Image: RollingNews.ie

Updated Jun 29th 2020, 10:45 AM

THE USE OF face coverings on public transport is being made mandatory, but enforcement will not begin for a number of weeks with fines expected for non-compliance. 

The wearing of face coverings on public transport will be made compulsory soon as capacity on buses, trains and trams increases today from 20% to about 50% (36 or 37 people per double-decker Dublin Bus).

Wearing a face covering in crowded situations such as public transport was already being strongly recommended prior to this move.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast this morning, the CEO of the National Transport Authority (NTA), Anne Graham, said enforcement won’t be as “extreme” as those without a face covering being denied entry on public transport.

“What we are asking customers is to wear face coverings, and we’re working on encouraging customers this week in particular to have a face covering when they are travelling on public transport,” Graham said.   

It’s likely that it will be enforced through fines, so if you’re not wearing a face covering there will be a fine associated with not wearing a face covering, but that’s something that’s being worked on at the moment.

Graham said the NTA does not have “the means to enforce it at this stage, but that is coming” in the next few weeks. 

She said it’s the responsibility of the individual to wear a face covering when travelling on public transport.  

“Wear your face covering, please,” Graham said.  

In a statement to TheJournal.ie this morning, Dublin Bus said: “At present, the focus of Dublin Bus is on education, awareness and giving our customers every encouragement to wear a face covering. 

Customers will not be refused entry if they are not wearing a face covering. 

“We are actively encouraging our drivers to wear face coverings and we have provided face coverings for all our employees.”

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Dublin Bus also noted that “the wearing of face coverings will become mandatory on public transport” and that a “detailed regulation on this is being prepared by government departments”.

The mandatory face coverings measure was signed off by members of the outgoing Cabinet last week following weeks of criticism that passengers on trains, buses and the Luas were not using face coverings while travelling.

The National Public Health Emergency Team recommended that from Phase Two, face coverings should be used while on public transport or in busy locations such as supermarkets. 

Bus Éireann has been contacted for a statement.

With reporting by Hayley Halpin

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