A bus company boss has spoken out to clarify the situation regarding the wearing of face masks on public transport in Oxfordshire.

Oxford Bus Company managing director Phil Southall has set out his views in a letter responding to concerns from city resident Adele Moss from Cowley.

He said about 90 per cent of passengers were now wearing masks.

Ms Moss wrote to the Oxford Mail and The Oxford Times to express her concerns about some passengers not wearing face masks.

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This has been a legal requirement since June 15 and Mr Southall said drivers could not enforce the law but if passengers without a valid reason repeatedly failed to wear masks 'the only recourse' the company had would be to report them to the police.

Oxford Mail:

OBC managing director Phil Southall

Mr Southall wrote: "I was pleased to hear Adele has returned to using buses recently but sorry to hear she was left with concerns regarding some fellow passengers not wearing face coverings.

"I appreciate that ensuring compliance is difficult, but I can report compliance has improved since face coverings became mandatory in shops and other venues and there has been around 90% compliance from passengers who wear a face covering.

"I also accept that there are concerns with school children complying with wearing a face covering. As a result, we are working with Oxfordshire County Council who will be sending representatives to schools with the aim of improving understanding on the need for school children to wear a face covering whilst using public transport."

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Mr Southall said the company's drivers do offer guidance to passengers and it has increased the number of on-board signs to remind people of the importance of wearing a face covering to protect themselves and others.

OBC has also introduced a free exemption card for passengers who are exempt from wearing a face covering to show on-board if they wish.

Oxford Mail:

Buses in Oxford

Mr Southall added: "Adele raised the question of where responsibility sits to enforce legislation regarding face coverings. Our drivers do not have the power to enforce laws where people choose not to comply. Law enforcement is a matter for the police and therefore if we do begin to identify people without an exemption who regularly do not comply with the laws, the only recourse we have is to report them to the police who will then decide whether it is a priority for them or not.

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"I would like to take this opportunity to reassure Adele and all passengers that Oxford Bus Company and our sister company Thames Travel have extremely stringent enhanced hygiene regimes in place across our fleets and our vehicles are safe to travel on. Additionally, we have fitted protective screens to our driver's cabins and provide colleagues with sanitiser and latex gloves for further protection. We are doing all we can to ensure compliance within the framework we have."