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Ann Arbor’s TheRide to require masks through mid-September

Buses line up at Briarwood Mall to shuttle crowds to the Ann Arbor Art Fair on July 19, 2019.
Buses line up at Briarwood Mall to shuttle crowds to the Ann Arbor Art Fair on July 19, 2019. (TheRide)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Masks will continue to be required on Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (TheRide) buses and vehicles through September 13, the organization said in an email Tuesday.

Although state guidelines on mask-wearing are changing, face masks will continue to be mandatory on all over-the-road buses and commuter bus systems per an order by the Transportation Security Administration.

On Tuesday, TheRide sent out an email reminding users about the mask requirement.

“The TSA’s federal mask requirement seeks to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation, and TheRide remains dedicated to protecting the health and safety of its riders and employees,” said Bryan D. Smith, TheRide’s Deputy CEO of Operations in the email.

”That is why we will continue to take a cautious and measured approach to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 by respectfully asking our riders to comply with federal law by wearing a mask and maintaining physical distancing when waiting for and riding the bus,” Smith said.

”While our communities are moving in the right direction, and the vaccination rate is increasing, we know masks still remain an important tool in defeating this pandemic. We will continue to work closely with federal, state and local guidance to evaluate the need for these directives and recognize the significant level of compliance thus far.”

Read: LIST: Which Michigan stores still require masks to enter -- and which don’t?

Those exempt from the requirement include TheRide users under the age of 2 and individuals with certain disabilities, officials said.

An existing civil penalty fine structure will remain in place through September 13. Fines start at $250 and rise to $1,500 for those who repeatedly ignore the federal face mask requirement, the email says.

TheRide has taken numerous preventative measures and restrictions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 including:

  • Requiring customers to wear a face covering, per federal law
  • Only approaching drivers is for emergencies
  • Cleaning buses following CDC-recommended protocols
  • Transit centers are only open for customer transactions
  • Social distancing signs posted within buses and transit centers
  • A limited number of passengers allowed on each bus
  • Plastic barriers separating drivers and riders
  • Providing sanitation supplies to employees.
  • Providing masks, gloves and face shields to drivers
  • Temporarily suspending Lost and Found collection

Find more information about TheRide, bus routes and its precautions by calling 734-996-0400 or at www.theride.org


About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.