RUGBY supporters heading to Cardiff to watch Wales’ autumn internationals are being reminded they must wear a face covering on public transport.

A capacity 74,500 crowd is expected at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, October 30, for Wales’ opening game of the series against New Zealand – the first sell-out since the 2020 Six Nations.

With many more thousands of people expected in the Welsh capital to watch the match in bars and other venues, Transport for Wales (TfW) and the British Transport Police are stressing the importance of following the Welsh Government’s Covid regulations.

Leyton Powell, safety and sustainability director at Transport for Wales, said: “Our crowd management and security staff will be working closely with the British Transport Police on match day to remind rugby supporters it is still a legal requirement to wear face coverings on public transport.

“Anyone refusing to wear a face covering without a valid exemption can be refused travel or removed from services.

“We want all passengers to have a safe and enjoyable journey to and from the match and we’ve been in contact with rugby clubs to help pass on the message face coverings should be a vital part of every supporter’s kit this autumn.

“Anyone who forgets to travel with a face covering should speak to TfW staff for assistance.”

BTP Inspector Richard Powell said: “We’re working closely with our partners throughout the tournament to help the thousands using the railway to travel to and from the events safely.

“We will have an increased presence at key locations, and officers will be reminding passengers of the requirement to wear a face covering on public transport in Wales, unless exempt.

“As with all major events, it’s very important for everyone using the railway to stay alert, be vigilant, and report any suspicious activity to station staff, a BTP officer, or by texting 61016 with some brief details.”

There are a number of other measures in place to keep passengers safe including hand sanitiser at stations, enhanced cleaning regimes on trains and stations and queuing systems to control the flow of people into stations and onto trains.

TfW will be running a full timetable with additional capacity on their busiest trains and all available carriages will be in service, but social distancing is not going to be possible on match-day services. TfW is urging customers to take this into account when choosing whether or not to travel.

Anyone travelling from west or east Wales into Cardiff along the mainline is advised to use larger capacity inter-city services where possible and those travelling shorter distances are encouraged to walk, cycle or use local bus services.

Bill Kelly, Network Rail’s route director for Wales & Borders, added: “Our teams have been working closely with Transport for Wales as we prepare to welcome thousands of rugby fans and spectators to Cardiff.

“We’d like to remind all passengers that face coverings are a legal requirement when travelling on public transport in Wales.”