No more masks on planes, trains, and buses — for now
Debate is swirling about the potential impacts of a federal judge’s decision that the federal mask mandate initiated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic exceeded the authority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fulton Schools Research Professor Steven Polzin, a civil engineer who focuses on transportation, says the ruling may result in more ridership on mass transit if people who stopped using public transportation return to it because the mask mandate has been lifted. Still, he doesn’t foresee a dramatic rise in ridership because many people will feel uncomfortable and at risk of their health if they use transit options where many other riders are maskless. On the other hand, he says tensions may ease between public transit users who have complied with mask mandates and those who have not. The change could also alleviate stress for transit systems employees who won’t have to enforce compliance with mandates.