Why are maskless riders still welcome on the Tram and Red Buses?


Are maskless riders still welcome on the Tram and Red Buses? After complaints mount, the answer from RIOC remains, “Yes.” But why?

By David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Yesterday morning, taking a Red Bus south, I was happy to see every rider wearing a face mask. Maybe, news of the Delta variant and many complaints sunk in.

But there was reason for caution. The open box of free face masks previously in reach of the driver was missing, and the inevitable soon happened.

And RIOC failed the test.

Just after passing a PSD officer parked in a marked car near the tennis bubble, our bus stopped for a homeless man. His face mask was down to his chin.

But he boarded, straight past the driver, without interference. A PSD officer relaxed less than a minute away, but the door closed and the maskless rider took a seat.

Worse yet, the man looked unwell, and his hygiene was poor.

I stepped around him to get off.

Also on the Tram, maskless riders still welcome

I didn’t take a picture of the homeless man because he was sick and vulnerable, and it was mostly a RIOC fail. Again. Had the driver simply asked, I thought he’d have lifted his mask without complaint.

And RIOC continued its policy of forcing riders to either walk or be exposed to the Delta variant ripping through New York.

Then, a reader sent a photo from the Tram, that same afternoon.

Caught in the act, a maskless rider shot a menacing glance back at the photographer.

Some have criticized The Daily for “shaming” maskless riders. When we see something like this, they say, we should confront the offender, even though bus drivers and Tram operators appear reluctant to.

Who wants to take on this guy?

Not our reader, and we applaud her common sense.

Besides, it’s RIOC we’re shaming. Residents, with no voice in the matter, pay upwards of $25 million every year paying for RIOC’s operations, $4 million of that for Public Safety.

Is it too much expecting them to really, in practice, require face masks in public transit?

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