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MTA announces new $50 fine for riders not wearing a mask

The new safety rule is intended to show commuters it's safe to take public transit.

Collier Sutter
Written by
Collier Sutter

Can’t stand the sight of fellow riders not wearing a mask on your commute?

The MTA and Governor Andrew Cuomo are cracking down. The MTA has required all riders to wear masks since April. But now, at Cuomo's request, commuters who refuse to wear a mask on New York City subways, trains and buses—even after offered one—could face a $50 fine starting Monday, September 14.

MTA Chairman Pat Foye stated in a press briefing that mask compliance is high across the MTA system: 96 percent on buses, 90 percent on subways and “well over” 90 percent on both Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road.

How does the fine work? You won't be hit with it right away unless you refuse to wear a mask all together. Riders can request a free mask on the spot, at a subway station booth or from a LIRR/ Metro North station ambassador.

Enforcement officers will issue a fine as a last resort: they’ll first offer you a free mask, and if you refuse you could be issued a fine, the MTA added in a statement. Wearing a mask is the law, and it’s the right thing to do.”

On top of preventing the spread, the new safety rule is meant to provide a level of assurance to commuters that it's safe to take public transit, Cuomo says.

“We have to be able to say to the riding public, 'yes everyone will be wearing masks,'” Cuomo said in a conference call. If they don't have a mask the MTA will give them a mask to wear. If they refuse to wear a mask they will be evicted from the system … We have to be able to say that to give riders comfort to reengage the system.

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