Metro Transit announced that beginning Monday face coverings will be required by all transit riders on trains and buses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the agency has no plans to enforce the requirement.
The transit agency posted the news on their website on Friday stating that “face coverings will be required on board all Metro Transit buses and trains” to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
However, in the Q & A portion of the announcement, they stated that “service cannot be denied and customers will not be removed if they are not wearing a face covering.”
Metro Transit bus drivers are not required to wear face coverings, the statement said, but they are “encouraged” to wear them.
Metro Transit has made several changes to its transit operations since the start of the pandemic which include reductions to routes and services and suspending overnight light rail service. They’ve also switched to rear-door boarding on buses and have placed barriers behind the driver’s area.
The transit provider has also seen a nearly 80% drop in ridership since mid-March when Gov. Tim Walz’s “peacetime emergency” went into effect.
The face covering announcement was also made on Metro Transit’s Facebook page where reactions from page followers ranged from consternation to ridicule referencing the fact that the “requirement” would not be enforced.
One person wrote, “Shame on you for NOT enforcing this. You’re putting your drivers and passengers at unnecessary risk just to avoid taking a stand and pissing people off – as usual. This “let’s make rules but not enforce them because we’re afraid the violators will be offended” mentality is why you have drivers and passengers being assaulted constantly, why the trains and bus stops are open drug markets and why law abiding commuters avoid transit.”
Another commenter stated, “So starting Monday face coverings are required but people will not be prevented from boarding or told to get off. So explain what is required please?”
Another said, “That has to be a typo??? That entire sentence…why bother if it’s not enforced?!”
Metro Transit plans to make on-board announcements and place advertisements to remind people to cover their faces. They also said they will not be providing masks to the public.