N.Y. MTA Announces Almost 15M Masks Distributed to Employees, Customers

Kevin Call/MTA

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority reached a significant milestone with nearly 15 million masks distributed to customers and employees across New York City Transit, MTA Bus Company, Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, MTA Bridges and Tunnels, MTA Police Department, and MTA Construction & Development since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the personal protective equipment distributed to heroic MTA frontline employees includes 4.9 million N95 and KN95 masks, 4.8 million surgical masks, and 600,000 cloth masks. Customers have been given 4.5 million free masks by the MTA.

Last week, 250 members of the MTA’s “Mask Force,” comprised of MTA leadership, employees, elected officials and staff, community groups, city employees, transit advocacy groups, and approximately 30 members of the general public traveled throughout the MTA service region handing out more than 100,000 masks, including 30,000 pink masks, to customers.

“The safety of our employees and customers continues to be a top priority, and the distribution of nearly 15 million masks is a perfect example of that,” said Patrick Warren, MTA chief safety officer. “The Mask Force has done an incredible job of making sure every person who enters our system can get a mask. Compliance among our riders is very high — but the goal is for every rider to wear a mask.”

“Despite the global demand for masks throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the MTA was able to source, procure and distribute more than 10 million masks to employees and nearly five million to customers over the last eight months,” said Kuvershen Ayer, MTA chief procurement officer. “Also at the onset of the pandemic, the MTA due to its strategic planning, utilized it`s established pandemic stock of masks and other PPE to keep our employees and riders safe.”

Mask compliance across the MTA network is very high, above 95%. The MTA has equipped buses with mask dispensers, installed vending machines that sell personal protective equipment, and launched new capacity tracking app features to report in real-time how many passengers are on a bus or LIRR train car. Train cars and buses are disinfected at least daily, and stations are disinfected at least two times per day.

Customers who refuse to wear a mask on public transit are subject to a $50 fine.

Train cars and buses are disinfected at least daily, and stations are disinfected at least two times per day. Subway cars have been disinfected nearly 3.7 million times, buses nearly 700,000 times, LIRR cars nearly 190,000 times and Metro-North cars more than 120,000 times.