BART reinstates face mask requirement; mandate effective immediately –

BART’s Board of Directors voted Thursday to reinstate a face mask requirement on BART trains effective immediately.

The board’s vote to reinstitute the face mask requirement is now in effect until and inclusive Oct. 1, unless BART directors decide to extend the mandate further.

The temporary amendment to the transit district’s Code of Conduct requires riders to wear face masks that fully cover a person’s nose and mouth in paid areas of the system with limited exceptions. This requirement applies to trains and all portions of stations beyond the fare gates. Children ages 2 and under, as well as individuals with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing masks, are exempt from the mandate.

At its Sept. 22 meeting, the BART board will place an action item on its agenda to determine if the mandate should be extended.

A BART spokesperson said Thursday free face masks are available at station agent booths and from all safety staff for those who need one. BART police will continue its education-based enforcement of the mask requirement by offering free masks to anyone who needs one before taking any enforcement action, which could include a citation of up to $75, or being ejected from the paid area.

In other news

The BART board on Thursday ratified tentative agreements to existing labor contracts that will give wage increases to BART workers.

The wage increases will total 10.5% over three years for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Amalgamated Transit Union and Service Employees International Union and non-represent employees and 10.5% over four years for the agency’s police unions, BART officials said.

The total four-year cost of the wage increases for BART’s operating budget is expected to be $123.8 million, and the four-year capital budget costs, which are primarily reimbursable from capital projects and other sources outside of the operating budget, are expected to be $42.2 million, officials said.

The last general wage increase for BART employees was in July 2020, though higher-level managers and executive staff didn’t receive a raise, transit agency officials said.

In 2020, most employees received a 2.75% increase. BART police received a wage increase in July 2021.

BART officials said not increasing wages would have compounded current staffing challenges in a tight labor market and would have potentially impacted service.

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