City bus firm Xplore has vowed to rely on “polite reminders” as it aims to reinforce the message that masks should be worn on public transport.
Some passengers in Dundee have voiced their fears over a lack of face coverings and social distancing on public transport.
However, Christine McGlasson, the managing director of Xplore Dundee, has assured passengers that the company will do everything it can to ensure buses do not become hot spots for transmission.
She says the majority of the company’s customers have already taken to the new rules, with data showing that 90% of travellers wore masks on Monday, along with 85% on Tuesday.
Xplore staff and Police Scotland will be working together to make sure masks are worn, however, they may use a “soft touch”, Ms McGlasson said.
“I think that what these new regulations do is give comfort and safety to those who are travelling,” she explained.
“We have given our drivers guidance on how to deal with the new regulations.
“We don’t want our drivers getting into any sort of conflict with passengers, so we have asked them to just remind people politely to wear masks.
“Obviously, there are a lot of people with certain disabilities which we cannot see, and our drivers can’t be expected to judge that.
“If someone says that they are unable to wear a mask then we believe them.
“However, the police have asked that if we do see consistent offenders then we report it back to them.
“Still, we’re delighted with the uptake that we have seen from people on the new regulations.”
Xplore announced earlier this week that it was increasing its service, which has been made possible due to funding from the Scottish Government.
It will allow the company to get more buses on the road in order to meet an increased demand as Scotland comes out of lockdown.
Ms McGlasson said she was looking forward to welcoming back more customers and said: “On Sunday, we will introduce new changes which will bring us closer to normal.
“We will be starting to run more of our core services frequently, as passenger numbers are very clearly increasing.”
Nevertheless, many appear puzzled over who will police the new guidelines introduced by the Scottish Government.
In the latest lifting of lockdown restrictions, it was announced commuters must wear masks or face coverings when using public transport.
But one passenger, who uses the number 22 service in Dundee, claimed many are ignoring the rules – and said staff on the buses were doing nothing to stop those flouting the guidelines.
“I travelled into town from Ninewells and back again on the number 22 National Express bus and there were at least eight people allowed on who were not wearing face masks which are now compulsory on public transport,” the commuter said.
“At no time did the bus driver ask if any passengers were exempt with underlying health problems.
“This is outrageous and dangerous. Do National Express think this is just a game we’re all playing?”