Federal mask mandate
A new federal directive requires that all passengers wear a mask over the nose and mouth on public transit.
Refusing to wear a mask is a violation of federal law; passengers may be subject to penalties under federal law.
Per State of Illinois executive order and CTA Rules of Conduct, masks or face coverings are required in public places and on all CTA properties. As such, customers are required to wear masks/coverings while on a CTA bus, train, platform or in a station or other building or facility owned and operated by the CTA.
How are we informing customers?
Like transit agencies across the country, we are focused on informing and reminding customers that masks are required on CTA property. Everywhere you go on our system—buses, trains, stations—there are reminders about the mask requirement.
As we continue our ongoing education and awareness efforts, there is a level of personal accountability and common-sense behavior we expect from you and all other customers.
Following the guidance of public-health experts is important, and the same behaviors people have learned and exhibit at grocery stores, food pickup, retail stores and other public spaces (wearing masks, practicing social distancing, etc.) also apply to transit.
How are we getting customers to comply?
Every transit agency in the country struggles to enforce mask requirements on buses and trains. The challenge is due to the inherent nature of public transit:
- Unlike a store or building, which typically have just one way in and out, public transit has multiple points of entry, with customers constantly coming and going.
- Each weekday, our trains make 2,200 trips and buses make 18,000 trips. At any given moment, hundreds of customers are boarding and alighting, or entering stations or terminals. Enforcing each and every rider is impractical.
- Stopping a train or bus to engage a customer about a mask would create delays for all customers. Those delays would impact not only that particular bus or train, but the others along the route and rail line.
- CTA personnel engaging a customer about a mask creates the possibility of conflict. Unfortunately, we’ve seen far too many examples from our transit peers across the country in which transit employees have been assaulted and attacked after asking customers to put on a mask. The safety of our employees is a top priority, and we will not ask them to risk their personal safety to confront someone not wearing a mask.
It’s simple: Wear a mask. Keep yourself and your fellow CTA riders safe.
Gallery of mask PSAs about proper mask wearing