April 20, 2022

Masks Now Optional on Montgomery County Ride On Buses   

Passengers using Montgomery County’s Ride On buses are no longer required to wear a mask, but are strongly encouraged to voluntarily wear them.  The change to the County’s masking policy comes after the announcement on April 18 that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has suspended enforcement of a mask mandate on all modes of public transportation.  TSA’s decision came after a Federal judge’s ruling that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mask mandate was unconstitutional.

Ride On bus operators will no longer be required to wear a mask because of this change. 

“We think this is a bad decision by a Trump judge, who has no expertise in public health, to overrule our nation’s public health experts,” said County Executive Marc Elrich.  “Not only will this increase risk during the current surge, but it undermines potential tools available for public health officials for future surges or future diseases.  As we join the region and comply with this legal decision, we are going to continue to monitor our transmission rates and legal options regarding masking.  We highly encourage all residents to wear masks on our buses, as well as in crowded indoor areas.  And, as we currently see our COVID rates increase, it is imperative that everyone stays up to date on their vaccinations.” 

The County’s decision to lift the mask mandate on public transportation was done to provide passengers and operators with consistency with WMATA (Metro) and other regional transportation systems.  WMATA announced that it was lifting the mask mandate throughout its transportations system. County health officials continue to strongly recommend masking, particularly for those riders who are unvaccinated, immunocompromised or have chronic diseases that put them at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19. 

“To provide consistency within the region, masks will not be required on County buses at this time,” said County Department of Transportation Director Chris Conklin. “However, I encourage the continued use of masks to protect yourself and others as there are members of our community who remain vulnerable to serious illness from COVID-19.  Our operators will continue to provide masks to riders who need them.” 

Ride On continues to offer free fares to all riders until at least July 2, 2022. Ride One will continue to provide free masks to riders when needed.

For more information on COVID-19 testing and vaccination, visit the County’s COVID-19 website.  For more information about Ride On, visit its website.