After months of free rides and cramped conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the MTA will resume fare collection and front-door boarding on all local and SBS buses on Monday, Aug. 31.
Front-door boarding will free up approximately 40 percent more space on buses. Barriers of chains and vinyl curtains will be taken down.
The MTA will take several measures to protect drivers, including the addition of polycarbonate sliders; vinyl curtains to block off the seat directly behind the driver’s seat; and moving the white line on the floor further away from the driver.
The entire fleet of 6,000 buses is being upgraded to provide high-density air filters, which will allow fewer dust particles and other airborne contaminants to pass through.
A pilot program is underway to provide free surgical masks from dispensers inside buses to further protect riders and employees. So far, the program is in effect on 360 buses on 15 routes across the city.
“Front-door boarding is a crucial step as we continue to support the reopening of New York City by making sure our buses have more space to socially distance and our bus operators are fully protected,” said Sarah Feinberg, interim president of New York City Transit. “Safety will always be our top priority.”
“We have a comprehensive plan to enhance the safety of our operators and customers, who have chosen the bus system over other modes of transportation throughout this pandemic,” said Craig Cipriano, president of MTA Bus Company and senior vice president of NYC Transit’s Department of Buses. “As customers continue to choose buses, we now expect them to pay the fare and remain respectful of others by wearing a mask whenever on board.”