The requirement will coincide with capacity on buses returning to pre-lockdown levels, rather than the half capacity limit that has been in place for the past eight weeks.
LibertyBus, which runs the Island’s bus service, said that wearing a face covering – such as a mask, snood, or scarf over the mouth and nose – would be a condition of carriage from noon on Monday, and anyone not wearing one will be refused travel unless they are in an exempt group. Those exempt groups are: young children, those with breathing difficulties or a disability.
Kevin Hart, director for LibertyBus, said: ‘We have been strongly recommending the wearing of face coverings since we introduced limited seating capacity, but it has only been optional.
‘As the number of cases in Jersey has remained extremely low, confidence in catching the bus has increased, and over the last three weeks we have had to leave numerous people behind at bus stops, having reached capacity.
‘We believe that making face coverings a condition of travel will enhance confidence in using the bus, therefore increasing revenue which we can put back in to running more frequent and later services. The timetable will remain as it is for the time being until we are confident that our customers are complying with the condition of carriage.’
He added that face masks would be available to buy on buses in the first few days for those who need them.
‘In order to ease in this new regulation, LibertyBus will be providing face masks for sale on buses and in Liberation Station for the first few days of operation, so anyone who does not have a face covering will be able to purchase one and travel.
‘Face coverings for our drivers will continue to be at their choice as it’s imperative that they are comfortable and have nothing blocking their vision when driving. They’re also at a distance of more than one metre when in the cab and have limited contact time with passengers.’
Masks or nose and mouth coverings are not recommended for children under the age of two or anyone who has trouble breathing or who would not be able to remove the mask themselves.
Meanwhile, cash is also being reintroduced on board buses, but no change will be given. Customers are advised to continue to pay by AvanchiCard, contactless, or to have the correct change.
Drivers will be able to issue a change voucher that will be redeemable from the LibertyBus customer service desk in Liberation Station where staff have better access to washing facilities.
‘The move from using cash to card has been extremely popular however we still have occasional travellers who prefer to pay by cash or have no other means of payment,’ said Mr Hart. ‘The move to offer a change voucher negates the need for the driver to handle as much cash as before as they have limited access to washing facilities out on the road.’