The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority, following the lead of the city's DASH and Commuter Express bus system, will require passengers to put on COVID-19 protections before boarding its buses starting to today, Monday, May 11.
"If you're a daily rider, do your part: cover your face and help us all protect your life and the lives of everyone who critically depends on our transit system for essential rides," said James Butts, mayor of Inglewood and Metro board chair. "But to be truly effective and to avoid enforcement nightmares, we must rely on the cooperation of the traveling public.
Face coverings will not be required for some Metro riders, such as people with disabilities or with certain preexisting health conditions, including those with difficulty breathing. Metro said it seeks to "protect the civil liberties of all riders to the greatest extent possible."
Metro stated it will enforce the requirement to the "extent that is practical" and will consider the best way to enforce the rule going forward.
Additionally, Metro stated it will look for ways it can help riders obtain face coverings while protecting the agency's own supply needed for employees.
The agency required rear-door boarding on buses in March and mandated bus operators use the plexiglas shields that help separate operators from passengers, and all Metro buses are now equipped with these protective barriers.
In addition to area bus systems, Amtrak took a stronger approach to enforcing the face coverings, stating rail services will be denied to customers not wearing facial coverings.
"To protect customers and employees, all customers in stations and on trains and thruway buses are required to wear a facial covering beginning May 11," Amtrak announced on its website. "Facial coverings can be removed when customers are eating in designated areas, in their private rooms or seated alone or with a travel companion in their own pair of seats."
Small children who are not able to "maintain a facial covering" are exempt from this requirement, Amtrak stated, and customers must supply their own facial covering.
Amtrak said its customers can go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, CDC.gov, for detailed instructions on how to make their own mask.
As Amtrak has reduced its services due to the pandemic, the transit operator said some stations may not be staffed.
If the station is closed, people can check the Amtrak app or call 1- 800-USA-Rail to check train status while waiting in a personal vehicle.
Metrolink, the train service for the Southland that spans six counties, has not required its passengers to put on face coverings or masks.
"Our team is putting the finishing touches on a safety- and customer- focused recovery plan that our board will consider this month," Metrolink Board Chair Brian Humphrey stated Wednesday. "This plan will be informed by the survey results, guidance from health authorities and requirements of state and local government officials."
According to the results of an in-house survey released Wednesday, Metrolink stated 39% of its riders during the pandemic identified as health care workers.
Of all survey respondents, 81% said they would resume using Metrolink, but not all at once. The survey found 29% said they would return as soon as the stay-at-home orders are lifted, with some planning to wait for schools to reopen or for a vaccine or related treatment to be available.