Harrisites weigh in on public transportation overcrowding

Harrisites weigh in on public transportation overcrowding
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In recent weeks, as schools and workplaces have reopened at full capacity, many Harrisites who have been commuting to school by public transportation have reported their unease of increased overcrowding. 

Freshman Hailey Ahn said, “[The buses are] super crowded. If you don’t think these buses are crowded after school you have to be insane.” 

“I don’t feel that safe, especially because we all stand so close to each other,” said senior Lauren Choi. “Everyone wears masks on the bus, but sometimes there are some people wearing the mask but not covering their nose or taking their masks off to eat.”

“It doesn’t feel safe at all, especially when it’s really crowded right after school ends. There aren’t really any regulations [on mask mandates] to enforce safety, and even if you try to enforce that safety, people will complain,” said sophomore Rachel Chan.

Junior Cindy Hsui said, “I would say I mostly feel safe but occasionally there would be people that don’t really wear their mask or don’t wear it properly.”

Senior Justin Lee offered a different opinion and said, “I don’t really see anyone without a mask and most students [wear them] as well, so I’m guessing they are mostly vaccinated, so I feel decently safe.”

To keep everyone safe while commuting, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority mandates the usage of masks on public transportation at all times. In a statement published on the MTA’s official website, officials stated that the MTA will provide free masks to any patron who doesn’t have one, and riders who refuse to wear a mask may be fined $50. 

Despite the mask mandate, the MTA has not fully enforced this rule. In response to public concern, the MTA tweeted on September 13, 2021, “We continue our efforts to remind customers and employees to wear their masks while riding the system. We need everyone to do their part and wear a mask. However, we are not responsible for enforcement. NYPD is responsible for that.” 

“It’s not much different as it is still pretty crowded and people still stand and sit close to each other. The only thing that is different are the masks,” said Lauren.

Photo courtesy of Iris Li