Khan, who also chairs Transport for London (TfL)—a local government body responsible for most aspects of London’s transport system—said more than 7,000 people were denied service for not wearing face coverings.
During the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic, face coverings were twice made mandatory on England’s public transport, first for around a year between July 4, 2020 and July 18, 2021; then for eight weeks between Nov. 30, 2021 and Jan. 26, 2022. Rule-breakers would be issued a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of £200 ($251). The fine would be halved if paid within 14 days.
TfL kept face coverings as a condition of carriage during the time between the two compulsory mask-wearing periods and for an additional four weeks between Jan. 27 and Feb. 24 this year, but it didn’t have the power to issue FPNs or to prosecute offenders during these periods.
Answering questions from Councillor Krupesh Hirani regarding face coverings on TfL, Khan revealed that between Feb. 24, 2021 and Jan. 27, 2022, TfL had prevented 7,283 people from travelling, directed 2,325 people to leave the network, and issued 3,996 FPNs for not complying with the requirement to wear a face covering.
Khan also noted that TfL had stopped recording face covering compliance activities since Jan. 27, 2022.
Defending the policy, he said in a statement: “The safety of Transport for London’s (TfL’s) customers and staff is always its top priority. A range of measures helped to ensure customers can travel safely and confidently on TfL’s services during the pandemic, including requiring face coverings as a condition of carriage both before and after they were a legal requirement, and continuing to strongly encourage them today.”
Asked about the number and value of these FPNs that remained outstanding, Khan said on Tuesday that 710 remained unpaid, with an estimated total of £142,000 ($178,000).
Khan added that 532 of the cases are “currently being prosecuted or have papers issued,” with the other 178 “currently open and unpaid, awaiting prosecution.”
But he didn’t answer Hirani’s question regarding what would prompt him to bring back mask-wearing as a condition of carriage on TfL services, saying officers are drafting a response.
The publication of the figures came as senior civil servant Sue Gray published her scathing report on the so-called “partygate” saga, where a series of rule-breaking gatherings took place in Downing Street and the Cabinet Office during the lockdowns.
The report blamed the “senior leadership at the centre, both political and official,” for the “culture” that led to the rule breaches.