Growing Call For Mask Order To Be Enforced On SamTrans

Tim Ryan
July 10, 2020 - 11:16 am

    While the SamTrans bus system in San Mateo County requires all riders and operators to wear face coverings, there have been rising complaints that many passengers are ignoring the order.

    Now there are growing calls for the agency to enforce the order.

    “We’ve taken a bit of a softer approach, allowing our bus operators to encourage, we have automatic messaging in the buses that encourage the use of masks,” said SamTrans COO David Olmeda. “If we depend upon the bus operators to take such a hard line, we increase the opportunity to get aggression and have problems on board our vehicles.”

    Several drivers have been assaulted by passengers recently, but the agency did not say whether masks had anything to do with the attacks. 

    Director Charles Stone says not enforcing the order may be doing their operators more harm than good. “No one should be getting on our buses without a face covering. And it’s not just about the health and safety of other riders. It’s about the health and safety of our operators.“

    The agency is also considering providing free masks to all riders without face coverings. 

    “I think we have to abandon the soft approach and go with a must stricter approach,” said Stone. “I don’t think we have a choice. Morally, I think we have an obligation to institute a mandatory face covering rule as soon as possible.”