Metlink says passengers are already getting #OnBoardWithMasks

Metlink says it is already seeing an increase of passengers wearing face coverings following the Government’s announcement that they will be compulsory on public transport on Monday 31 August.

Metlink general manager Scott Gallacher says passengers have quickly adapted to the new additional measure and more and more people are wearing face coverings ahead of Monday’s deadline.

“We’ve seen a massive increase in the number of people wearing face coverings on our buses, trains and ferries over the last few days. It’s great that people are taking personal responsibility and this new challenge in their stride – there’s a real sense that we are all in this together,” says Mr Gallacher.

“Wellingtonians are a creative bunch and we’re seeing some wonderful homemade scarves, bandanas and masks alongside regular shop bought efforts as people take to social media to show their support using the hashtag #OnBoardWithMasks,” adds Mr Gallacher.

From Monday it will be compulsory for everyone aged 12 and over to wear a face covering on public transport at alert level 2 and above, with exemptions for health, disability and practicality reasons. 

Greater Wellington’s Transport Chair Roger Blakeley says that fellow passengers should be aware of other people’s circumstances.

“On Monday we expect almost all passengers to be wearing face coverings but we know that some people won’t be able to wear masks for personal and medical reasons and that some people may not be able to get hold of a mask in time for Monday’s deadline. We ask passengers to be aware of these situations and continue to be kind to those around them,” says Cr Blakeley.

“People see the sense in face coverings and know it’s the right thing do if it helps keep New Zealanders safe from COVID-19 and gets us all back to alert level 1 that much quicker,” add Cr Blakeley.

The Government has announced that it will release a further three million masks for national distribution over the coming days to boost immediate supplies to iwi, social services groups and community foodbanks in centres and regions where there is public transport.

The Government also announced today that face coverings will not need to be worn on school buses, on charter and group tours, on inter island ferries, private flights or by private contractors of air services.

Face coverings are an additional step in combatting COVID-19 and complement existing personal hygiene, physical distancing and contact tracing measures which all still need to be followed by public transport passengers.

Metlink is encouraging all passengers to share selfies of their face coverings on social media using the hashtag #OnBoardWithMasks.