South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Transport Spokesperson Colin Smyth has highlighted the continued lack of co-operation and co-ordination between the UK and Scottish Governments, as different rules are issued about face coverings on public transport.
Last week the UK Government said wearing face coverings will be compulsory on public transport in England from 15 June. However, in Scotland, passengers on public transport have only been ‘strongly encouraged’ to wear a mask or face covering and it is not mandatory.
This means passengers on cross-border trains and coaches will have to put a face covering on as they cross into England.
Colin Smyth said: “The issue of mandatory face coverings has once again revealed the glaring lack of co-operation and co-ordination which exists between the Scottish and UK Governments.
“As things stand right now, passengers could get on a train or coach in Scotland without a face mask but then be required to put one on as soon as they pass over the border. In Scotland, those using public transport are being encouraged to wear a mask, but it isn’t mandatory and while I would hope everyone north of the border wears one, there is no way of making people co-operate.
“If the Scottish Government believes face coverings are necessary to stop the further spread of Covid-19, then they must explain how this will be enforced or make them mandatory as the Trade Unions have called for. I know rail staff in Scotland for example are concerned that they will have to try to encourage people to wear face coverings because the police have no powers in Scotland to make people wear face coverings on public transport.
“Under this guidance there is nothing to stop anyone getting on public transport in Scotland without a face covering, not just those who cannot wear face coverings for practical reasons.
“Once again, the Scottish and UK Government have shown they are not working together on cross-border issues.”