NEW YORK, NY — NJ Transit announced Nov. 18 a partnership with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Amtrak, and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority to create a regional “Mask Force” to encourage universal mask compliance on public transit.
Through this partnership, the transit systems will provide millions of free masks to customers across the northeast as face coverings have proved one of the most effective tools in combating the spread of the virus.
“NJ Transit is proud to join our regional transit partners on the Mask Force initiative, reinforcing the critical importance of wearing masks while traveling through our stations and on our vehicles,” NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin Corbett said. “NJ Transit has already distributed nearly 20,000 masks to customers on our system — free of charge — and the Mask Force initiative is yet another example of the extraordinary collaboration taking place among transit agencies at this time. We remain committed to working hard every day to provide the safest possible travel environment for our customers and employees.”
“Wearing a mask is the single most important thing all our customers and employees can do to combat the spread of COVID-19 — and it’s the law here in New York,” MTA Chairperson and CEO Patrick Foye said. “I’m proud to stand with my partners across the region and thank them for doing everything they can to protect the riding public.”
“Wearing masks reduces the spread, saves lives and is a sign of respect, especially to fellow riders,” said Rick Cotton, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. “Since July, the Port Authority has given out over 736,000 masks and hosted 28 mask education days across our facilities. We’re seeing close to universal voluntary compliance, and in partnership with our fellow transit agencies, we’ll continue those efforts to keep the traveling public safe.”
NJ Transit continues its “SAFE NJ” customer awareness campaign which focuses on high visibility signage throughout the NJ Transit system, including across all social media channels, to maintain awareness of recommended best practices that ensure the healthiest and safest transit system for all. A primary focus of the “SAFE NJ” campaign reinforces the requirement to wear face coverings and the importance of wearing them properly.
In addition, NJ Transit deployed teams of customer service ambassadors over the summer at a number of stations and terminals to assist customers returning to the mass transit system. Ambassadors remind customers to maintain safe practices, specifically regarding the requirement to wear face coverings onboard vehicles, in stations and on platforms, and to refrain from eating or drinking on vehicles. Ambassadors also provide free masks to those who need them, and free masks are also available at customer service offices at major terminals. NJ Transit’s Mask Force program formalizes and brands mask distribution efforts, with a plan to introduce Mask Force volunteers for the first time at major stations and select outlying stations on Wednesday, Nov. 25. NJ Transit will look to deploy Mask Force volunteers on a monthly basis.