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Amtrak, northeast transit agencies launch 'Mask Force'

MTA teamed up with other transit agencies and railroads to launch a regional Mask Force partnership.
Photo – MTA Flickr/Marc Hermann


Amtrak, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), New Jersey Transit and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) have joined forces to encourage universal mask compliance on public transit, MTA announced yesterday.

Through the "Mask Force" program, the railroads and transit systems will provide millions of free masks to riders across the northeast to slow the spread of coronavirus. The partnership builds on regional transit operators’ individual efforts to keep riders and employees safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

In July, the MTA launched Mask Force to supplement its existing mask distribution in the transit system. More than 650 people have volunteered for the MTA Mask Force since its inception. The program runs two days out of each month and has distributed over 300,000 masks since July.

As part of the regional Mask Force effort, PANYNJ this week will host mask education and distribution events, Amtrak will deploy ambassadors at their largest stations in the Northeast Corridor during Thanksgiving week to assist riders, and SEPTA will assign a small team of staff and employee volunteers at various stations to encourage and educate riders on proper mask compliance. 

The program also formalizes and brands NJ Transit’s mask distribution efforts. The agency plans to introduce Mask Force volunteers for the first time at select stations on Nov. 25, and deploy Mask Force volunteers on a monthly basis following the launch.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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