Riders on area buses can now more easily comply with Governor Steve Sisolak’s mask mandate after the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) this week completed installation of mask dispensers on its fleet. The self-service dispensers are placed at bus entrances for riders to receive a free mask as they board.
According to the RTC there have been no COVID-19 cases reported among transit passengers or drivers in Washoe County. It said a recent analysis showed nearly perfect compliance—99.9%–among passengers with the mask mandate.
Members of Teamsters Local 533 had previously issued complaints that Keolis North America, RTC’s operator, and RTC were not following the governor’s mask directive.
Keolis North America’s spokesperson disputed those claims and said the company has been instituting safety precautions in accordance with those directives.
“Throughout these past few months and especially as we enter into Phase II of the Governor’s plan, we have implemented specific measures to provide our riders and employees the trust and confidence to continue to utilize RTC’s transit network,” said Henri Vies. “Keolis is committed to continue to provide safe and courteous service to the community and a healthy environment for our employees.”
RTC said it has taken a number of steps in addition to the mask dispensers to promote compliance with the governor’s directives, including rider education, reminder signage on buses and at bus stations and free masks at both Reno’s 4th Street Station and Centennial Plaza in Sparks.
The complimentary masks are being offered for transit passengers with aid from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Department of Homeland Security. RTC said the agencies delivered 1,500 masks for contracted transit employees and an additional 6,000 masks for transit passengers.
Gov. Steve Sisolak’s directive issued June 24 requires people wear masks in indoor public spaces and in other situations, including on public transit.