May 5, 2020 | 31 Comments

COVID-19 Update: Face Coverings Required for Transit Riders Starting May 11

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Illustration of riders waiting to get on MetroBus, wearing nose and mouth-covering masks

To help protect transit riders and Metro Transit employees from the spread of coronavirus, Metro is taking the important step of requiring all customers to wear face masks. Beginning Monday, May 11, face coverings are mandatory for all Metro Transit customers and employees when riding MetroBus, MetroLink or Metro Call-A-Ride services.

Face coverings need to fit over your nose and mouth, and non-medical masks, scarves, handkerchiefs, bandanas and other types of cloth coverings are permitted.

A guide for making your own face covering can be found here.

You must wear a face covering during your entire trip on a Metro Transit vehicle. This policy does not apply to children ages 2 and under, and customers who have trouble breathing, are incapacitated or are unable to remove the cover without assistance.

If you are not wearing a face covering, you will not be permitted to board MetroBus, MetroLink or Metro Call-A-Ride vehicles. The requirement to wear face coverings on public transit follows recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and a requirement issued by the State of Illinois asking people to wear a face covering over their noses and mouths when in a public environment where social distancing is not always possible.

MetroBus Fare Collection Resumes Monday, June 1

Metro Transit will resume front-door boarding and fare collection on MetroBus vehicles beginning on Monday, June 1. To reduce the person-to-person contact between bus operators and passengers, Metro has been waiving the collection of cash fares on MetroBus since March 21, and riders have been boarding buses via the rear doors.

Metro has also made other adjustments to transit operations and services to better protect operators and passengers, and to minimize potential exposure to the coronavirus. This includes providing all transit operators with masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment, limiting passenger loads on buses, installing polycarbonate shields around the operator cabs on all buses, and changes to MetroBus service that better meet ridership demands and support social distancing. With these measures now in place, Metro anticipates being able to resume fare collection, while continuing to address the health and safety of operators and passengers.

Metro Transit will continue to closely monitor operations, and will make any necessary adjustments to support the health and safety of transit operators and riders during the COVID-19 crisis. Transit riders who have questions or require assistance are encouraged to call Metro Transit Information at 314-231-2345 or to text 314-207-9786, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Stay informed on the latest updates at metrostlouis.org/health.

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Rider Alert

31 thoughts on “COVID-19 Update: Face Coverings Required for Transit Riders Starting May 11”

  1. Jane says:

    I would recommend revisiting resuming fare collection on June 1 later this month to determine if free bus rides should remain if the situation regarding testing and stay at home orders don’t improve.

    1. Lindsey says:

      Our teams will continue to closely monitor operations, and will make any necessary adjustments to support the health and safety of transit operators and riders during the COVID-19 crisis.

  2. Timothy R Miller says:

    Both the reinstatement of fares and facial coverage are the RIGHT thing to do! I ride Metro everyday and your drivers are doing a remarkable job under terrifying circumstances that I am witnessing over and over again.

    Thank you Metro!

  3. ciara says:

    Will regular routes be re-instated on June 1st as well since we are paying? Lack of bus routes and availability have made it very difficult for me and my husband to get to work since we are both considered essential with our employers.

    1. Lindsey says:

      There are no plans to make modifications to service or bring back temporarily suspended routes at this time. Our planning team continues to evaluate the needs of the region and will make service adjustments when it is safe and we are able to do so.

  4. Lesa says:

    Thank you to all the Metro transit workers who have worked during this time. It is greatly appreciated for all your hard work. Do you have an idea of when the schedule will go back to normal times for weekdays and not run on this weekend time Schedule?

    1. Jerry says:

      We’re hoping to restore service on several MetroBus routes in the near future, but a date hasn’t been set yet. We will be sure to share this information with everyone as soon as its available.

  5. sharon says:

    I totally agree with masks for riders. thank you for providing protection for the precious drivers that are exposed regularly!! I wish the mask requirement would have been engaged a lot sooner. However, my question is what do the drivers do if a passenger refuses to wear a mask when entering? Will they ask them not to board? What a precarious position for them. Prayers for everyone’s safety. I will probably be back to riding daily very soon.

    1. Jerry says:

      Everyone who is riding on Metro Transit needs a face covering, and won’t be permitted to board without one.

  6. Jason says:

    You can’t force people to wear a mask unless otherwise noted by local and state laws. There will be lots that don’t comply with this policy because it’s not a law. How will this policy be enforced?

    1. Jerry says:

      No one will be permitted to board a Metro Transit vehicle without a face covering – with the exception of special cases where riders have a condition that prevents them from safely wearing a face covering.

  7. Todd Hicks says:

    How long will everyone aboard Metro have to wear masks starting May 11?

    1. Jerry says:

      Until further notice – no end date on the mask requirement has been established at this time.

  8. Helen B Penland says:

    not all riders were a mask, not even your metro security staff can not do about those rider not wearing mask especially in the afternoon schedules. Forest Park metro train station – riders getting in not wearing mask – useless effort “as working together”

  9. William Taylor says:

    Does the June 1st date apply to Call a ride vehicles in terms of fare collection as well or just MetroBud?

    1. Jerry says:

      The June 1 date only applies to MetroBus at this time. We’ll let everyone know when Metro Call-A-Ride fare collection resumes – a date has not been set.

  10. Erica says:

    Hoping that the face mask requirements and fare reinstatement will also bring back reinstatement of regular bus routes. Lots of people depend on those routes to get and from work.

  11. Jeanette Pingel says:

    I ride the train daily and today was the first day of requiring wearing masks while riding on Metrolink. I witnessed 3 teens get on the train without masks. I asked the driver to alert them that masks are required. He told me that he can’t enforce that rule.
    I discussed it further with him. By the time I made my exit, I heard him say that by tomorrow masks would be required.
    This is not what I want to witness daily. Public safety will continue to be at risk unless EVERYONE follows the rules. And conductors need to watch and let riders know a mask is required while traveling on Metro.
    I texted this complaint without an answer. I called public safety 24/7 line and they transferred me to customer service to leave a voice mail. This is unacceptable.

    1. Jerry says:

      Sorry that’s you experienced on Monday – but thank you for bringing this to our attention. We will get this addressed. This policy is important for the health and safety of everyone on the system.

  12. Lauren says:

    Are you still giving disposable masks away? There’s still people who need masks and struggle to find one.

    1. Jerry says:

      We have a limited supply of masks available that are with our front-line managers, and they are traveling around the system and can provide a mask for those who need it. However, there are no guarantees they will always be available, so all riders should come prepared with a face covering – which doesn’t have to be a mask. A bandana, scarf, or other cloth face covering can be used.

  13. Jeanette Pingel says:

    Jerry, this has been going on all week. I also witness security allowing people to enter the train without a mask as well.
    On the train, some riders have masks at the chin level. some move them up over their noses when I ask, others do not.
    What should i do when this happens and security is not on board to intervene?

    1. Jerry says:

      The best option is to contact Public Safety directly by text at 314-300-0188, and let them know where you are and what is occurring. They will dispatch someone to your location to address the situation.

  14. Kael says:

    As a very frequent rider, I notice that there are only a handful of drivers and guards who enforce the mask requirement. Many, many more not only do not enforce the rules but do not adhere to them personally. This does not inspire confidence in your riders. And it makes your continued insistence that you’ll “look into that” seem more and more like “public relations,” not “public safety.”

    1. Lindsey says:

      I completely understand your concerns, Kael. It may seem like public relations, but the mask policy was developed in close collaboration with our transit operators and employees to protect their health and the health of our customers. We are continuing to work hard to have everyone comply with the new policy so that our riders and our employees feel more comfortable and protected while on the system. As you noted, one area we can improve on is ensuring that our staff complies with the policy and sets an example for everyone to follow.

      I am going to forward your comments to our leadership team and operations staff – it’s important that they understand what our riders are seeing on the system. Thank you for your feedback.

  15. Cael says:

    Today, June 16, I overheard a guard telling a passenger that masks are only “recommended,” not required. After the mystified passenger got off, this guard turned to another guard and said, “The policy says you have to have a mask. It doesn’t say you have to wear it. I’m not getting into it with people over a mask.”

    1. Lindsey says:

      Thank you for letting us know about this situation. I just sent you an email to get some additional details about time and which station you were at/near when this happened. We will share this with our Public Safety team so it can be addressed.

  16. Cael says:

    Train #2005 westbound red,from Memorial Station around noon today, Friday, June 26: Female driver not wearing mask, replacement driver (also a female) not wearing mask. Stopped at your service facility after Grand and she and former driver as well as a male employee who came out to the train all joked about not wearing masks. Driver then continued on, no mask. What an example these people set. And it seems there’s real penalty for their non-compliance, even though officially a passenger can get put off the train for it.

  17. Barbara says:

    MetroLink may “require” masks, but they are not being worn by many riders, or if they are worn, they are below the nose, around the neck, around a wrist, etc. Per a Metro transit employee, there is no way to enforce this requirement. “There is nothing we can do if they have one and won’t wear it.”

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