New York MTA to Start Fining Riders Who Refuse to Wear Masks on Mass Transit

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By WCBS Newsradio 880

Starting Monday, people who refuse to wear a mask on subways, buses and commuter trains in New York City will be hit with a $50 fine.

MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye figures about 90% of commuters do wear masks, but the goal is to achieve 100% compliance.

"Public health experts all agree that the single most important thing that customers can do on public transit is wear a mask," Foye said. "It protects them, it protects their fellow commuters and it protects our employees."

Since April, it's been mandatory for riders on the MTA system to wear a mask, but now if that rule isn't followed there will be consequences.

Commuter opinions vary.

"I think it's a good idea," one man said. 

"I just think you'll have more problems, I understand their point, but there's gotta be a better way," another man said. 

"It's not going to be fair for everybody," another man said.

New York City Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg says mask enforcement will be done by the NYPD, MTA Police and Bridge and Tunnel Officers, not individual bus operators and train conductors.

Early on, the NYPD gave up ticketing and arresting non-mask wearers following confrontations.

The MTA said the goal is not to be punitive it's to protect public health.

"Our goal here is not to hand out fines or summonses, our goal here is to drive mask usage and compliance," Foye told WCBS 880 last week. "We hope to issue as few fines as possible, but that will help drive to 100% usage and compliance on subways, buses and the commuter rails."

Commuters who need a mask can request one from a station agent.

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