Since Aug. 24, masks have been mandatory on public transit. This is a most excellent plan, as it is in fact impossible to socially distance yourself properly on a bus. There is no better place to pass on a virus than on public transit.
Last week I witnessed a disgraceful incident on my bus ride to Sechelt, which I have to do for my work three days a week. The very sweet and new young bus driver asked a young man politely – twice – if he had a mask. Not only did he not reply, he completely ignored her with his ear buds in and staring down at his phone. She asked again. This young man chose to pretend he could not hear or see the driver, even when she got out of her seat, stood directly in front of him and politely asked him to wear the mask she was providing for him.
The incident was completely awkward for the rest of on the bus – all wearing the required face covering (although that was the first time I had ever seen almost every rider wearing a mask, but at least it’s improving) – and we all waited while this disrespectful young man sat slumped performing his “act of defiance” by essentially being rude.
But here’s the other part of the equation – bus drivers should not be made to police this. It is very unfair to ask the drivers to monitor their community for something that is mandatory. Drivers already have a job – to drive the bus and get all the riders safely to their destination.
I work with seniors, some of them in their 90s, just out of hospital and extremely vulnerable. Every time someone isn’t wearing a mask on the bus, I have to wonder if when I greet my clients I might be putting them at risk.
You don’t want to wear a mask? Then ride your bike or walk to Sechelt.
And to the good leaders of our community and the transit supervisors – do not make this the drivers’ job. Please put some form of support in place for the drivers and for the people who are complying with the intelligent requirement that has been put in place for everyone’s well being.
Wanda Nowicki, Gibsons