The BART Board of Directors at its meeting today approved a temporary amendment to the District’s Code of Conduct to require riders to wear masks in paid areas of the system with limited exceptions. This requirement applies to trains and all portions of stations beyond the fare gates. Children ages two and under as well as people with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing masks are exempt from the mandate. The rule is effective until July 18, 2022, unless it is extended by the BART Board.
“I strongly support requiring a mask to ride BART to keep all our riders safe,” said BART Board President Rebecca Saltzman. “I’m especially concerned for our riders who are immunocompromised, people with underlying health conditions, and children under the age of five who are not yet eligible for vaccination.”
The update to the Code of Conduct comes after a federal judge in Florida earlier this month tossed out a federal mask mandate for public transit systems and airlines. Like other Bay Area transit agencies, BART’s previous mask mandate had been based on the now former TSA directive.
“It is essential the BART Board take action to protect our riders and employees after the surprising ruling that threw out the federal mandate,” said BART Board Vice President Janice Li. “Wearing masks helps to protect everyone, which is especially important now as COVID cases rise in the Bay Area.”
Free masks are available at station agent booths and from all safety staff for those who need one. As with the previous federal mandate, BART PD will continue its education-based enforcement of the mask requirement by offering free masks to anyone who needs one before taking any enforcement action which could include a citation up to $75 or being ejected from the paid area.
Throughout the pandemic BART has prioritized the safety of riders. BART has installed MERV 14 (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) air filters on all train cars new and old. These filters are dense enough to trap the virus and provide an extra layer of protection to our riders. Air is replaced every 70 seconds onboard cars mixing filtered air with fresh air. That means the circulation on BART train cars is better than most offices. In addition, all BART employees are fully vaccinated.