A NEW badge scheme has been launched on trains for people who are exempt from wearing face masks in public.

Bosses behind train operator c2c started the new scheme to support the many people who are exempt from the face coverings.

Train passengers with conditions such as severe asthma and those with visible and non-visible disabilities that rule out the wearing of face coverings will be given badges, similar to c2c’s popular Baby on-Board badge scheme for pregnant women, which they can wear when travelling with c2c.

c2c Managing Director Julian Drury said: “We have launched this new exemption badge to support those customers who are unable to wear a face covering. We know some people may feel more comfortable wearing something that says they are exempt from this rule and also allows our staff as well as the British Transport Police to know who should and shouldn’t be wearing a face covering.”

Since June 15, face coverings have been mandatory on public transport in England following changes to government guidelines.

However, some groups are exempt from the rule, including children under the age of 11, people with disabilities or breathing problems and anyone travelling with someone who lip-reads.

Anyone who is unable to use a face covering because of a visible or non-visible illness or disability, as defined by the 2010 Equality Act, are also exempt, as well as c2c staff, on-duty police officers and emergency services employees. Customers can be fined £100 by the British Transport Police if they travel without a face covering.

The new measures come as figures have shown large numbers of people and passengers are flouting the new rules, according to the Government.

One in ten people are breaking face-mask rules on trains and buses – but just 285 passengers have been fined, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.

The Cabinet minister wrote on Twitter that the compliance rate is 90 per cent as he urged people to ‘help keep each other safe’ during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Shapps said figures from British Transport Police, the police force for the railways, and Transport for London show 285 passengers have been issued with penalty notices for non-compliance.

New badges from c2c can be collected at all stations on the line or at www.c2c-online.co.uk