PUBLIC transport users have slammed the mandatory face covering policy and say it “makes no sense when it is not being enforced”.

Since last Monday, it has been against the law not to wear a face covering when boarding a train, bus or any other form of public transport in England.

The rules do not apply to certain users, including disabled people, children under 11, anyone with breathing difficulties and anyone travelling with someone who relies on lip reading to communicate.

But bus and train passengers in Brighton and Hove say the rules are not being enforced.

Anthony Butler, a gardener who lives in Hollingbury, uses the buses every day to travel to work in Crowborough.

The 64-year-old said: “I know there are exceptions to the rules, but the people getting on the bus without face coverings are not in those groups. I didn’t mind before but now there are a lot more people using the buses.

“It just makes no sense to me that the bus company are taking no action on it. It seems wrong as it’s encouraging the spread of the virus among passengers.”

Another bus user who lives in Portslade said: “Where I live near Downs Park, I have no choice not to take a bus – even just to pick up a pint of milk.

“I’m 66 and I just don’t have the energy to get up the hills and I need go out to buy my groceries.

“I got on a bus on Tuesday morning and a couple got on with no face coverings, when his nose was dripping like an open tap.

“I took three buses that day and on two of them, not one person was wearing a mask.

“What’s the point of having a law and saying you are going to fine people, if no one is around to stop them?

“The drivers could stop people getting on but they don’t want the confrontation. Yes, masks are uncomfortable but it’s the law so I’m wearing one. It’s totally selfish not to.”

A train passenger who did not want to be named said: “I caught a train back to Brighton from Victoria on Thursday afternoon and when I got back there were four or five police officers all chatting to station staff and laughing, and every one of them had their backs to the numerous people getting off the trains who were not wearing masks.

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“It was shocking and I felt ashamed of them as the crowd simply filed by.

“They are supposed to be policing and according to the drivers and staff, this is the only way of


“Frankly, they had no interest in monitoring passengers.”

Brighton and Hove Buses boss Martin Harris said: “You must wear a face covering on our buses at all times, unless you are exempt.

“At the same time, we ask passengers to show kindness and respect towards those passengers who cannot wear a face covering because they are exempt.

“The Government does not expect bus drivers to police wearing face coverings but people not wearing one who are not exempt could be fined up to £100 by police.

“However, the Government has said this is about compliance, not enforcement and policing, by engaging, explaining and encouraging.”

Sussex Police said it would continue its approach of “engaging, encouraging and explaining” the regulations to the public to ensure everyone is aware of the current regulations and how they can comply with them, adding: “Officers will enforce the regulations only as a last resort by asking individuals without masks to disembark from public transport or by issuing a Fixed Penalty Notice.”

Govia Thameslink Railway said: “Our station teams have been asked to remind passengers of the rules, although some people may not be able to wear a face covering for medical reasons.

“Penalty notices would be very much a last resort, enforced by the British Transport Police.

“We remain confident that the vast majority of people will want to do the right thing and help protect others by wearing a face covering.”