Masks have been a big part of that effort. Since last May, masks have been required on all Sound Transit vehicles, in accordance with directives from local authorities. Passengers have stepped up to the task. The compliance rate for mask-wearing on our vehicles is gratifyingly high: 95 percent.
In light of a new federal mandate for mask-wearing on transit and in transit facilities, Sound Transit is taking additional steps as part of our commitment to work toward 100 percent compliance.
The new effort builds on our existing work. We have been engaged in an ongoing safety education campaign to remind passengers about the mask requirement and social distancing.
The agency has posted prominent signage about the requirement throughout its system, has communicated directly with riders through email and text messages, web and social media content, advertising, and audio announcements.
In addition, throughout the fall, Sound Transit hosted free mask giveaways to distribute 23,000 reusable face coverings sent by the Federal Transit Administration.
Starting now, you will begin seeing mask dispensers on all Sound Transit vehicles. The dispensers have already been available on some ST Express buses, and all buses will have them in the coming weeks.
We are also adding dispensers on Link light rail vehicles and Sounder trains. The dispensers will make it easy for everyone to have a mask.
Sound Transit personnel will also be periodically checking to make sure everyone is wearing a mask. In the event that someone is not, personnel will remind them of the federal law and provide them with a mask.
We know that not everyone can wear a mask. People with a disability that makes wearing a mask difficult or children under the age of two can still ride without a mask.
Enforcing the mask mandate is a key part of the new federal rule for transit. If someone who can wear a mask refuses to wear one, personnel will ask that person to disembark at the next available stop.
We all look forward to the day when we can put the pandemic behind us. In the meantime, wearing a mask helps you and others stay safe while riding. Thanks for doing your part!