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Noting 'Spotty Compliance' with Mask Requirement, Tulsa Transit Will Let Drivers Deny Boarding

Tulsa Transit

The Tulsa Transit board approved on Tuesday a stricter approach to the agency’s mask policy on buses after several reports of riders wearing them improperly or not wearing them at all.

Starting Monday, drivers may deny boarding to riders without a mask. Bus drivers will have masks to offer to unmasked riders for free, but Tulsa Transit General Manager Ted Rieck said how that will go over is up in the air.

"We’ve had mixed signals about that. We’ve had staff go on the bus clearly identified as Tulsa Transit employees, and some riders were glad to get a free mask and some were very hostile," Rieck said.

If someone removes their mask while on board, drivers will not confront them.

"If they get on the bus and it becomes a difficult situation, we might let that person ride but call ahead to our security team to meet the bus down the road and then have our security team deal with that," Rieck said.

The new mask policy is modeled after the one used by Oklahoma City’s transit agency, Embark.

Rieck said while too many riders have flouted the city’s mask requirement on Tulsa Transit buses, an employee’s analysis finds the busiest routes are in areas of the city with lower-than-average spread of COVID-19.

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