Prince Charles turned down the chance to clamber on board a low-emission bus – because he would have to wear a mask in today’s heatwave.
The Prince of Wales, 72, heard how Exeter is set to become a ‘Net Zero City’ by 2030 and hailed the city’s efforts after being shown round its new £8million bus station.
But on ‘Freedom Day’ as millions of Brits are getting back to normal the future king declined the chance to get on board a Stagecoach low-emissions bus – blaming the stifling heat as temperatures outside soared to a blistering 29C (84.2F).
A source said Charles, who was wearing a suit and tie despite the blistering weather, told aides it was too hot to go on the bus where he would have had to wear a mask on the double-decker as it was enclosed space.
Charles and Camilla had earlier not worn masks as they visited inside Exeter Cathedral.
The city laid on several exhibitions at the new St Sidwell’s Bus Station showing with its ‘Net Zero Heroes’ hoping to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2030.
Shown some of the 200 electric bikes from Co Bike, Charles said: “Are they nippy? You avoid being crushed by council buses?
“I remember going in the inside of a lorry when I was an undergraduate at Cambridge.”
Studying some locally-grown strawberries he joked: “Have you been polishing them?”
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The prince also met Stagecoach’s longest serving bus driver, Mike Prowse, 73, who has worked for the company for nearly sixty years.
The long-serving driver showed the prince a Diesel engine 1961 AEC Regent V bus he used to to drive in the 1960s before it was replaced.
Mike said afterwards: “He asked how I was still driving at my age and I explained its the law to if over 70 to take a medical every year but here at Stagecoach we do it every six months. He asked about my eyes but my eyes are actually getting better with age.
Before departing, he unveiled a plaque to commemorate the date of his visit.
The prince joked: “Good job I turned up on the right day.”
Exeter City Council declared a climate and ecological emergency, with the aim of being a carbon neutral city by 2030.
Stagecoach says it is continuing to follow government guidance which states it “expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport”.