Masks now optional on BART, but its board may decide to require them again

Felony arrests on BART increased by 62 percent from 2022 to 2023
Photo credit: BART

BART became the latest transit agency to make masks optional, but strongly encouraged, on its system.

The transit agency became the latest of agencies throughout the nation, including AC Transit, to drop the mask requirement after a Florida judge struck down the federal mask mandate for public transit.

“BART has confirmed there are no longer any federal, state, or local level directives that enable a mask mandate on BART,” the transit agency said. “Like other transit agencies, BART’s mandate was based on the now withdrawn TSA directive. In addition, on Wednesday, April 20, the California Department of Public Health terminated their statewide order requiring masks on transit and is now strongly recommending people wear masks on transit.”

However, the BART Board of Directors will consider a proposal to continue to require masks in the BART system at its next meeting April 28.

BART is still offering free masks from station agent booths and has Merv 14 air filters installed on all train cars that are dense enough to trap the virus and provide an extra layer of protection to riders. Air is replaced every 70 seconds on board cars mixing filtered air with fresh air, the agency added.