A PILOT scheme to ensure passengers wear a face covering while on trains has led to “almost total” compliance.

Train operators Southeastern, Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern have been working with British Transport Police (BTP) on the scheme on rail lines in and around London for eight weeks.

The trial has seen rail enforcement staff paired with a BTP officer to patrol stations and trains together on different lines, at all times of the day and week.

The trial found 90.4 per cent of people were already wearing a face covering, and this rose to 98.4 per cent when those not wearing one were spoken to.

Only 0.2 per cent of passengers failed to comply and were removed from the train or station or issued with a penalty notice.

Steve White, chief operating officer for Govia Thameslink Railway, which runs Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink, said: “We all need to wear face coverings in stations and on trains unless exempt, to protect those around us as we work together to tackle coronavirus.

“While it’s great the vast majority of our passengers are doing their bit, this collaboration with the British Transport Police will help to reinforce how important this is.”

As of November 12, across the country the BTP have stopped 67,741 people to remind them of the rule to wear a face covering on public transport. They asked 4,466 people to leave the railway and issued 141 fines to those who have not complied.

The maximum fine a person can receive for not wearing a face covering is £6,400 in England.