04:29PM, Thursday 22 July 2021
Monday marked the point when nearly all legal restrictions on social contact in England ended, with many dubbing the occasion 'Freedom Day'.
One of the main changes includes the end of the legal requirement to wear masks and socially distance, with these two rules in force continuously throughout the past 16 months.
But what about public transport?
Below is a summary of the rules on mask-wearing for different public transport sectors in and around Slough and Windsor.
First Bus Berkshire has said that it ‘recommends’ travellers on its vehicles to wear a mask, adding it was important to also use contactless payments and open windows to avoid transmission.
Regarding social distancing, the firm added that its buses ‘will return to full capacity’ with all of its seats in use.
Thames Valley Buses said that it is 'advising' customers to wear face coverings, but it cannot enforce this.
General manager of the firm, Simon Fisher, added: “We are advising customers to wear a face covering to help avoid spreading the virus, especially when the bus is busy, but we have no means to enforce this and it would be putting the driver in a very difficult situation if we attempted to do so.”
Red Eagle Buses said that its buses are back to full capacity, but advise people to ‘bear others in mind when boarding, seating and alighting’.
Carousel Buses has urged people to respect fellow travellers’ ‘personal space’ and also told people to respect the choices of others regarding face masks.
Slough is served by two rail operators – Great Western Railway (GWR) and TfL Rail (Transport for London). Windsor is served by South Western Railway.
A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, on behalf of GWR, said: “Rail companies will ask people to follow the Government guidance and, out of respect for others, wear face coverings if an indoor setting is busy,
“Train travel is low risk, with the majority of carriages well ventilated by air conditioning systems or by doors and windows.”
Transport for London said last week that it still expected travellers to wear face masks on its services, including TfL Rail, despite the easing of restrictions.
South Western Railway said: “We have removed advice about social distancing and expect passengers, out of respect for others, to wear face coverings in crowded places.
“With good ventilation systems on trains, extra cleaning and better information about quieter times, all our passengers can continue to travel with confidence.”