MTA Deploying Law Enforcement Officers to Buses

IB ImageJULY 20 -- The MTA announced today that it is deploying law enforcement officers to buses and will distribute free masks to bus riders – two safety initiatives TWU Local 100 has been urging the authority to enact.

In a press release today, the MTA said:

The MTA has deployed approximately 160 Bridge and Tunnel Officers to perform spot checks of mask compliance on buses. Bridge and Tunnel Officers will be encouraging customers to wear a mask and will be instructing those who are out of compliance to leave the system. Bridge and Tunnel Officers will also have masks on hand to provide to customers.

The MTA also is launching a pilot program this week to install surgical mask dispensers on buses, to allow customers to receive the free face coverings conveniently as they travel. The pilot will begin Friday on the Bx12 SBS and the Bx41 SBS.

Local 100 President Tony Utano called these moves “positive steps.”

The union has called for enforcement of the mask requirement, including the ejection of riders not complying and the imposition of fines. “Everyone on a bus should be wearing a mask or face covering,” Local 100 President Tony Utano said. “Passengers who are not complying with the mask rule are selfishly endangering the health of Bus Operators and their fellow riders.”
WPIX mentioned the union’s advocacy on the mask issue in a Sunday, July 19 broadcast that included this segment that mentioned Local 100 has recently surveyed bus riders and mask useage on several routes:

TWU Local 100, a union representing MTA workers, found mask compliance ranges from excellent to terrible. Union President Tony Utano said up to 40 percent of riders ride without masks on some routes.
“Bus operators should not engage riders without masks but there should be some enforcement,” Utano said. “It makes zero sense to have a rule but not enforce it. There also should be some effort to distribute free masks to riders on routes.