A new study by car-leasing company Nationwide Vehicle Contracts has revealed passenger attitudes to wearing masks on public transport across the UK, including in the capital. It makes for… interesting reading. If you’ve been on a London bus, tube or overground train recently it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise – unless you’re spectacularly unobservant, drunk or deluded – that not everyone is following the rule that you must wear a face covering when on stations, trains and buses or face a fine.
There’s the ‘Oh, it’s slipped down (into my bag)’, there’s the ‘I can’t talk/text/tweet with something near my mouth apart from a fag and/or sticky bun’, there’s the ‘The nose doesn’t count as part of the face’, and there’s the ‘Fuck you, I ain’t wearing a mask. Don’t you judge me!’ Cumulatively, this amounts to more than a quarter of people using public transport in London admitting to having done so without a face mask during the pandemic.
In terms of the tube, though, different lines reveal a surprising variety of compliance. The best line for mask-wearing is the Metropolitan, with 73 percent of its passengers saying they have always worn a mask this year. The Victoria is next, with 71 percent, then there’s a bit of a drop-off to the Jubliee on 64 percent and a load around the 55-59 percent mark. But bringing up the rear is… Bet you think it’s the Northern line, right? Nope. It’s the pesky Circle line. That’s right, Old Yalla. Only 52 percent of Circle line passengers say they have always worn a mask when travelling during the pandemic.
That’s quite troubling, although our city is not the worst place in the country for public-transport face-mask observation. 72 percent of Londoners say they always wear a mask when travelling. This compares to just 51 percent of people in Cardiff, and a staggeringly low 46 percent in Manchester. Still, before we all start miming patting ourselves on our collective back, the South East is still the worst region of the country for overall compliance, and that ain’t just people on hopper buses in Herne Bay.
So put your mask on. No: properly.
Not too worried? Travel to see these beautiful Christmas window displays.