Moves under consideration by Stormont Executive for face coverings to be made compulsory on designated school transport services do not go far enough
Michael Dornan, Chair of Unite’s Metro driver branch, called on the Stormont Executive to make it compulsory that all passengers, including school children, have to wear face coverings on all forms of public transport.
“Since May, Unite has been calling for face coverings to be made compulsory for passengers for all forms of public transport in Northern Ireland. We understand that the Northern Ireland Executive is considering making the wearing of face coverings obligatory for school children on designated school runs but this does not go anywhere far enough.
“Many school children use a variety of services – often changing between modes, using rail and bus services to get to school. In Belfast only approximately 40 percent of schoolchildren get to school on designated services. We need to see face coverings become mandatory for school children, indeed all passengers, on all modes of public transport”, Mr Dornan said.
Adrian Kelly, chair of Unite’s branch of Northern Ireland Rail drivers, echoed the demand for face coverings to be worn.
“The latest evidence suggests that there is an elevated risk of transmission from school children when they gather in areas also frequented by adults. While most young people thankfully don’t experience the same consequences of Covid-19 infection, they are capable of acting as vectors to transmit the virus to older people who face more serious consequences.“In order to minimise risk to older passengers, our drivers and to protect our public health service, we need to see face coverings become mandatory on all forms of public transport”, Mr Kelly concluded.