Daily News Report: MTA opens bus windows to counter COVID — but drivers say the real issue is low mask usage.

Five veteran drivers at three different MTA bus depots told The News they had no idea they were supposed to open their windows and had never seen last month’s memo. “I’ve only heard rumors of the windows, but no one has told me to open them,” said one driver who operated routes in Brooklyn. The memo was distributed to all bus depots and was supposed to be read by all bus drivers, Lovett said.

But to drivers, whether or not there’s enough fresh air on their buses is only part of the problem. “The bigger issue is that so many people are just not wearing masks,” said the Brooklyn bus driver. “Gov. Cuomo said everyone has to wear face masks on transit, but there’s no way for us to enforce that.”
“The other day I told a passenger who got on that I wouldn’t move until he put a mask on,” said another Brooklyn bus driver. “He got pissed and I told him I was going to call the cops. They should provide masks on the buses,” the driver added. “We’re talking about people’s lives.”
Transport Workers Union Local 100 president Tony Utano said the open windows do little for bus drivers when many passengers are declining to wear masks. “The MTA and the city both should deploy their police to this health hazard,” said Utano. “If someone doesn’t have a mask, they should be escorted off the bus and hit with a $100 fine like farebeating,” Utano said. “This is much worse than farebeating. This is jeopardizing the health of riders and bus operators.”
MTA officials have commissioned surveys that found more than 90% of subway riders comply with the state’s mask requirements.

Read the complete story in the paper here.