Students being urged to wear face coverings on public transport

Date published: 14 October 2020

Police and transport operators have joined forces to stage a series of engagement events aimed at reminding students and young people of the vital importance of travelling safely and wearing face coverings on public transport. 

The TravelSafe Partnership (TSP) has held a number of targeted days of action at busy transport interchanges and tram stops over the last two weeks focused on young public transport users travelling to and from schools, colleagues and universities. 

Working alongside officers from Greater Manchester Police’s Transport Unit, TSP staff have been patrolling key areas ensuring students and pupils using the network are aware of the latest advice to help stop the spread of coronavirus: 

Wear a face covering (unless exempt)

Keep a safe distance apart (1m+)

Wash or sanitise your hands frequently (before and after travel)

Use contactless payment

The joint deployments, which will continue to run for the next few weeks, are being held in response to concerns being raised about some students failing to follow safe travel guidelines on public transport services.  

Since September 28, members of the TravelSafe Partnership have held ten days of action covering areas in Oldham, Bury, Wigan, Leigh, Altrincham, Salford and Manchester, speaking to thousands of students aged 11-19 and handing out face coverings where required.  

Transport for Greater Manchester Customer Director, Stephen Rhodes, said: “It is absolutely essential that those people who must use public transport, and have no alternative, can do so in confidence and in as safe an environment as possible.  

“Unfortunately, we have received a number of reports of young people flaunting the guidelines on some services, and as such we have acted swiftly to educate those disregarding the safety of themselves and others.  

“These targeted days of action give us an excellent opportunity to interact with students, young people and other passengers in an open-air environment while they are out on the network and explain exactly how important their actions are in terms of keeping themselves and others safe. 

“We will continue to hold these days of action and ensure that young people accessing education across the region remain aware of their responsibilities when travelling.” 

There are several exemptions to wearing face coverings, including children under the age of 11, anyone with a disability or condition which means they are unable to wear one, transport staff and emergency services.  

A Journey Assist card is available from TFGM to help those who are exempt from wearing a face covering.  

The card, which can be downloaded to a device or printed off and used as a flash pass, is available by contacting TFGM’s customer team on 0161 244 1000 or through the TfGM website contact form 

The card is also available in Travelshops across Greater Manchester. Passengers who carry Journey Assistance cards from transport operators can continue to use them also. 

A face covering isn’t the same as a surgical face mask.

It can be a scarf or bandana, or can be made at home.

A supply of spare coverings is available from Travelshops but customers should provide their own where possible.  

Department for Transport guidance states that public transport drivers are exempt from wearing face coverings as it can affect their ability to drive.

They are enclosed in their cabs or behind screens in most cases and are following all other hygiene precautions laid down by their employers for controlling coronavirus. 

The multi-agency TravelSafe Partnership, takes a problem-solving approach to dealing with crime and antisocial behaviour on Greater Manchester transport. 

The Partnership shares data and intelligence and, thanks to body-cams, call points on all trams and stops, over 2000 CCTV cameras across the Metrolink network and a 24/7 control room, is able to help coordinate quick response to live incidents. 

For information on public transport across Greater Manchester visit, call 0161 244 1000 (7am-8pm, Monday to Friday, and 8am-8pm at weekends and bank holidays) or follow @OfficialTfGM on Twitter. 

Do you have a story for us? Want to tell us about something going on in and around Oldham? Let us know by emailing , calling our Oldham-based newsroom on 0161 633 2121 , tweeting us @oldhamchronicle or messaging us through our Facebook page. All contact will be treated in confidence.