UPDATE: All Metro buses now feature a mask dispenser, as of March 5, 2021.
By March 31, 2021, or sooner, Metro will install mask dispensers on its entire bus fleet of 1,404 coaches. Each dispenser will be stocked with double-layer, surgical masks from Metro’s supply of one million. These masks meet the recent, more stringent mask standards from Public Heath – Seattle & King County. Even as mask dispensers are installed on all buses, we still urge our riders to use their own masks whenever possible. Per guidance from Public Health, masks are more effective when they are multi-layered and snug-fitting.
Metro has been requiring masks throughout our system since last May. We’re happy to report that roughly 90% of our passengers wear masks while traveling. On coaches with mask dispensers, 94% of passengers wear masks. Metro is currently reviewing the new federal mask mandate and will continue to update and refresh our policies and practices. More information on mask compliance and methodology can be found on our rider dashboard called “The Dash” and at kingcounty.gov/HealthierMetro.
Metro first installed mask dispensers on select routes with higher ridership in September 2020. We’ve since outfitted 342 coaches with mask dispensers, making masks available to all customers traveling on routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 10, 12, 13, 14, 36, 43, 44, 49, 70, 120, as well at the RapidRide A, B, D, E and F Lines. More than 300,000 masks have been distributed on our coaches to date.
Multi-layered safety approach and continuous improvement
In a quest to create the safest environment possible for our operators and passengers, mask dispensers are just one of several mechanisms Metro has employed to reach this high level of compliance.
Passengers are reminded of the mask requirement by the “MASKS REQUIRED” message on electronic destination signs and bus exterior signs as buses approach bus stops, and see “Masks Required” decals in English and Spanish on our bus doors as they enter. There are also posters inside transit vehicles and onboard audio announcements. On King County Water Taxi, there are signs and other reminders throughout terminals, at ticket kiosks, and onboard. Additionally, all Metro customers receive daily customer communications featuring health and safety guidance via email, social media, text, and our website.
These efforts are coupled with additional layers to protect customer and employee health, including disinfecting every vehicle every day, upgraded air filters, introducing fresh air through opening windows and doors, closing off certain seats and limiting passenger capacity to support physical distancing, and installing transparent safety partitions.
We’re committed to continuously improving our safety practices as new information and technologies become available. Over the last three months, for example, we’ve again increased the frequency and level of detail in our bus cleaning. This includes hiring 23 more utility service workers and further optimizing the high-touch cleaning process, which allows more time for additional cleaning.
New onboard announcement and “Behind our masks” video
Starting this week, riders will hear a new onboard audio announcement from Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587 President Ken Price, the labor union that represents Metro’s bus operators and other transit workers.
“I’m Ken Price, president of ATU, Metro’s transit workers union,” says the new onboard announcement launching this week. “Masks are required on King County Metro. Wearing a mask protects you and it protects the health of Metro’s essential workers. So always mask up on Metro and keep that mask on for the entire trip.”
Speaking of Metro’s essential workers, the new “Behind our masks” video features some of the transit employees keeping our region moving with reminders about who you help when you wear a mask.
“We are all looking forward to the days free of masks, distancing, and shutdowns,” says a Metro employee in the video. “Small sacrifices make big impacts.”
Though vaccines are an exciting development, we know that masks will be required on Metro, and society at large, for the indefinite future. Thank you for doing your part to protect yourself, your bus operator, and the community.
Hello! Thank you for the free masks! Do you clean the inside of the mask dispensers? Because I saw one empty mask dispenser, and somebody put trash in it? Thank you again for the free masks! I really appreciate it : )
We are now celebrating the one year anniversary of the CDCs “just two weeks to slow the spread”, and now they are doubling down on a disproven method of containing a virus. This is absolutely absurd and it’s time people grow up and start using common sense and data to direct policy, rather than politics and virtue signal pandering. The CDC has flip flopped on the issue so many times their credibility is shot, these new policies are entirely ludicrous and it’s time to stop listening to fear mongers and the corrupted healthcare industry that constantly bankrupts people and puts profits before health.
Here are several very real reasons masks will never work as intended when mandated on the general public.
1) Masks harbor and capture bacteria, viruses, pollutants and other contaminants, and people are constantly fiddling and adjusting their masks, then touching everything else with their festering bacteria-laden hands.
2) There are no bio-hazard disposal bins for used masks.
3) Masks are not being changed as often as they should be, which according to medical literature is when the masks become saturated with moisture, or in-between patient contact. Please review medical and dental literature to understand proper mask usage.
4) Containers of masks that are not air-tight will be absolutely ridden with bacteria and filth within hours of being passed by the hundreds if not thousands of people that ride daily. The idea that these mass-produced masks are in any way sanitary or sterilized is a better fiction than the last season of Game of Thrones.
5) The boxes the masks come in literally say they do NOT halt the spread of covid. Please read the labels and understand why they are mandated by law to include that disclaimer.
6) Asymptomatic spread is extremely rare, and a recent study of 10 million people (10,000,000) out of Wuhan showed only an estimated 300 cases of asymptomatic spread, and all of them tested negative for covid.
7) The majority of the populace will never experience covid or its effects, but acne, rotted teeth, receding gumlines and “mask mouth” are very real issues that we are facing today.
8) Doctors in hospital settings follow protocols such as being clean-shaven for better mask fitting and will also often use balm or vaporub around the edges of their masks to create a “gasket” to seal it against their skin, so air would not travel out from the creases. People not wearing masks according to clinical standards render the masks ineffective and useless and thus the last year of masks use has been more or less pointless.
9) A lab test with tubes and fans and concentrated amounts of coronaviruses does NOT equate to real world use of masks in public, and studies that suggest mask use should be made mandatory are authoritarian, unrealistic, and only further regress society into medical tyranny.
10) CDC mislead, or were wrong, about “just two weeks” to slow the spread. Why should we listen to these unelected officials dictate our health policies?
11) The CDC/WHO claims they originally told people not to buy masks so as not to hurt the “front-line that needed it most”. If masks were truly necessary, they decided once already that your life is not as important as their industry members, and thus their credibility for further recommendations on your life should be null.
12) Fauci himself told us “there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.” Fauci’s remarks were made on March 8, 2020, several months after the virus would have already spread worldwide, and the science behind how coronaviruses are transferred has NOT changed. We have studied and understood how coronaviruses (like the common cold) spread for a long time.
13) Fauci also co-authored a well-known paper in 2008 on the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic outlining how the majority of deaths were from bacterial pneumonia, while masks were mandated during the time. While the paper doesn’t directly blame masks, it doesn’t take a genius to consider where the largest source of bacteria would be coming from during that period.
14) The chances of dying in a vehicle crash are one in 103 (nytimes, 2019). This seems like the largest risk in taking public transit, outside of being mugged, sexually harassed, or other issues that bus riders face every day. A disease so weak to the majority of the population that they might not know they have it, versus the very real issues we’ve all faced on public transit.
15) Emerging studies are still discussing the issues of extended use of synthetic fibers being imbedded in lung tissue, leading to advance stage lung cancers, pneumonia, and other ailments. Don’t forget, “Polyester” is just plastic fiber and inhaling micro-particles of bacteria-laden microplastics is NOT good for your health.
16) What are hasmat suits if masks are all that’s required? Should hasmat suits be mandated on public transit if we truly wanted to “stop the spread”?
17) Masks are a historical symbol of submissiveness, slavery, ritualistic purpose, and sexual perversion, they take away human dignity, emotion, and individuality, they are repressive and everyone knows and feels this. Forcing masks on children and conditioning them to believe they are always sick and diseased is absolute child abuse, plain and simple.
I could continue but most adults probably agree with this already.
These are 17 VERY good reasons, among millions, to NOT mandate masks on the healthy public, even for a short period of time. If you are truly at risk, stay home. Don’t go on buses or public transit if you will literally keel over from the common cold. If you are going to see grandma are you’re so afraid that you might have “picked up a virus from those non-maskers” then just isolate for 14 days first, as directed.
Look at people with chronic mask wearing, they have dark shadows around their sleepy eyes, they talk with a mumble and a lag, they are slow to respond to stimuli and then have the nerve to claim they never feel the effects of wearing a mask. And these people are supposed to be driving us around? Stop this absolute lunacy.
This is madness, widespread neuroticism over the cooties from people who don’t understand the difference between the words “died from” and “died with” and never learned, prior to this pandemic, that ~8000 people die EVERY DAY from natural causes.
You are a bus and transit system, you should focus on driving buses rather than taking part in dictating what people can or can’t wear for their health.
Having mask dispensers on all Metro buses sounds good in theory, but you really need to ENFORCE the mask rules and passenger limits! I ride the route 36 and route 70 buses to/from work, and every day I see multiple passengers who either aren’t wearing a mask at all or who aren’t wearing it correctly, yet almost all of the drivers let these people board anyway and don’t ask them to wear a mask. Many of these non-compliant passengers do have masks on their chins, so they really can’t plead ignorance or not having a mask as an excuse for not wearing a mask correctly.
I think Metro needs to:
– allow driviers to bypass stops if the only person there isn’t already wearing a mask (most of the people I see who aren’t already wearing a mask while waiting at the stop don’t put one onoce they board the bus)
– have on-board security officers who are authorized to ask people to wear masks AND who also have the authority to eject non-compliant or disruptive passengers and issue citations
– have on-board security staff also assist with monitoring passenger counts. I board the southbound route 36 at 3rd ave/Pine St. between 2:45 PM – 4:00 PM on weekdays. This route uses the small trolleys for most of those trips and routinely hits the 12 person capacity limit within the first 2 stops, yet most of these drivers continue picking up passengers even if nobody’s getting off at a stop and are letting the bus get so full that every seat is occupied and people are standing in the aisles. This route often has 18 or more passengers by the time it gets to the IDS/Chinatown Link station stop, so it’s blatantly obvious the bus is way over capacity.
– run the articulated buses on all southbound route 36 trips or add more frequent trips
Finally, is anyone at Metro reading the Facebook page?? The FB page is full of posts from other people who have the same concerns about mask use and overcrowding as I do. My employer provides subsidized ORCA cards, but I know of several coworkers who now drive to work instead of using transit specifically because of COVID-19 concerns and because service cuts have made transit too unreliable. If Metro doesn’t start taking our concerns seriously, they’re going to lose even more customers once businesses start opening up because a lot of the people who have other commute options (work from home, drive alone,carpool, or Uber) are going to continue using those instead.
King County Metro don’t care about us!!! I send several message to them but they ignore us!!!
What a ridiculous authoritarian idea, this poster should be ignored and cancelled from their workplace and barred from holding any public platform. Masks are gross and they do not help prevent the spread of Covid, as it says on the boxes. This is gone on long enough. Please educate yourself and stop pandering to medical tyranny.
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