DENVER — Nora Abouissa rides the train or bus daily. She says some passengers choose not to wear their masks on board.
"I think it is frustrating for everyone involved when someone chooses to push back instead of just throwing it on for 10 minutes," she said. "Not a lot of people wear masks, and then when drivers tell the people not wearing masks to put one on and offer to provide them one, there is usually a lot of push back and it gets a little scary."
RTD says customers and operators are required to wear masks while waiting for a bus or a train and while riding. This policy has been in place since spring of last year, near the start of the pandemic.
"It is mandated by the federal government, and that has been extended through March 18," said Tina Jaquez, public relations manager for RTD.
But despite being mandated, RTD says there’s a fine line between enforcement and the safety of everyone on board.
"Our bus operators do ask people to board and ride with masks on," said Jaquez. "We don’t want them to be in a position of enforcing it if it is difficult with the person. We don’t want them to be put in any kind of danger or fighting over masks."
Enforcement is a question on many passenger’s minds.
In response to one rider’s tweet asking about enforcement, RTD replied in part, "There is no citation or action that can be taken by operators to enforce it."
Thank you writing in. Passengers are required to wear masks on RTD services. However, RTD cannot enforce mask wearing. There is no citation or action that can be taken by our operators to enforce it. Operators can't deny a passenger from boarding if not wearing a mask. *RE
— RTD (@RideRTD) December 7, 2021
"They’re kind of doing the best that they can, but I think still after two years of COVID, people don’t really understand the severity," said Abouissa.
Many RTD drivers are not only tasked with getting people to their destination safely, but also asking people to mask up. It’s a job RTD says should be shared among everyone.
"They should be our partners in safety," said Jaquez. "Safety is everyone’s responsibility, and by bringing a mask, it makes it safe for everyone."