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Bus riders account for more than 20 percent of people using Lake Shore Drive every day while taking up a fraction of the space that cars do.

Free masks piloted on 20 CTA bus routes

The Chicago Transit Authority took an important step forward in keeping riders safe and healthy by starting to offer free, disposable face masks on approximately 200 buses serving 20 bus routes.

Kudos to the CTA for making the move, which began at the end of 2020. Making masks readily available on all buses and trains is the best way to ensure universal mask compliance.

Active Trans first called for CTA to provide free masks to all riders who need one in July.

“This is great news for essential workers who have been riding transit throughout the pandemic and the operators keeping it moving,” said the Active Trans Managing Director of Public Affairs Kyle Whitehead to WTTW. “Both groups are disproportionately Black and Brown and many live in the communities hit hardest by COVID-19. It will help restore comfort and confidence as riders continue to return to transit during the recovery.”

As part of the pilot program, face mask dispensers will be installed at the front of the bus, near where customers board. Each day prior to leaving the garage for service, each bus will be stocked with free, disposable face masks. High-ridership routes such as the #56 Milwaukee, #91 Austin and #77 Belmont are included in the pilot.

CTA said the pilot will allow the agency to assess a variety of factors, including demand for masks and logistics for replenishing stock on buses that are out in service all day.

Active Trans looks forward to CTA expanding the program to all 129 bus routes, as well as all rail stations.

Image courtesy of CTA.