EL PASO, Texas -- The director for Sun Metro, El Paso’s mass transportation agency, says bus drivers should tell riders they either need to be wearing a mask before boarding a bus, or not board the bus at all.
Furthermore, director Ellen Smyth says the driver should also be wearing a mask.
But ABC 7’s Saul Saenz boarded a Sun Metro bus to see for himself if those guidelines, including social distancing, are being followed as safety measures to protect against either contracting, or passing Covid-19 on to other people.
What he found surprised the director.
At first glance, the Sun Metro bus does have signs on seats acknowledging social distance requirements with some seats closed to passengers.
But a passenger just a few seats away from me was permitted to enter the bus without a mask. And another pair of passengers had their masks down with less than two feet between them.
Another group of passengers boarding the bus included a passenger who was wearing a mask, but was sitting directly behind the passenger who was not wearing a mask. And the distance between them was far fewer than the recommended six feet of social distancing.
And the bus driver, he too is not wearing a mask behind the wheel of the bus. He did put one on when he stopped, circled around and retrieved trash. He also came face to face with the passenger not wearing a mask, and said nothing.
Now preventative measures are being taken moving forward, says Smyth.
"We've given masks now to all the drivers where they can just had the passenger a mask, if they're not wearing one, rather than get into a confrontation. And so that's a new requirement. But I will say that driver should've been wearing his mask the entire time. So we will be speaking to the employees in making sure that they at least wear their masks."