Last reviewed 9 July 2021

The Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT) has given only a cautious welcome to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement that lockdown restrictions will continue to be eased from 19 July.

While Chief Executive, Graham Vidler, agreed the announcement about the end of social distancing will allow buses to play a full role in the country’s pandemic recovery, he was less than happy with other parts of the Prime Minister’s speech.

The potential gains are, he argued, being put at risk by the confusing announcement on face coverings which passes the buck to operators, unfairly placing staff on the front line in managing disputes.

“Operators have worked hard to make bus and coach travel safe during the pandemic,” Mr Vidler said, “and the Government should make it clear what the science is now telling them. If it advises face coverings are still required, then they should be mandated in all enclosed public spaces but if they are no longer required then there should be no guidance advising of their continued use.”

The CPT believes that the confusion and mixed messaging will discourage people from travelling to work, to the shops or from visiting visitor attractions across the country. This will make it harder for local economies to bounce back and for buses and coaches to play a role in reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality by taking cars off the roads.

Elsewhere in the transport sector, budget airline Ryanair has been one of the first to insist that passengers stick to its face covering requirement onboard all flights, even after the Government lifts the legal obligation to comply.