ScotRail could hand out face coverings to encourage use, MSPs hear

PASSENGERS could be given free face coverings in order to encourage their use on Scottish trains, MSPs have been told.

ScotRail managing director Alex Hynes also said the rail operator is rolling out hand sanitiser points across its stations.

The Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee heard evidence from a number of groups involved in the industry this morning.

Current coronavirus guidance recommends public transport should only be used for essential journeys.

READ MORE: Face masks could become mandatory, Nicola Sturgeon says

Hynes said: “We will be doing everything in our power to encourage those customers that do have to travel for essential journeys to wear a face covering.

“We are exploring feasibility of free issuing those to customers for an initial period to get people into the habit.

“And of course we are involving our people as well, through the safety reps, recognising that if customers see staff wearing face coverings they’re more likely to themselves.”

Hynes said the use of face coverings is not mandatory and there is no law around their use.

He said “vending options” are also being explored to allow passengers to buy face coverings, while social distancing floor markings and hand sanitiser bottles are being added to some of the busiest stations.

Gordon Martin, a regional organiser with the RMT union, said it is unclear who will enforce the use of face coverings on public transport.

He said: “It’s not the job of our members to police it … We have concerns that our members will end up in difficult positions with frustrated customers.”

In its written submission to the committee, the union said: “There remains a lack of clarity over how and by whom the Scottish Government’s ‘expectation’ requiring face masks will be enforced.

“The RMT is clear that our members are not police and we will not allow them to be put in a position whereby they are put in danger or at risk of conflict due to non-compliance by members of the public.”

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