Subway mask wearing was dropping until $50 fines began, MTA says

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Subway mask usage dipped over the summer as ridership increased in August and September — but rose again after a $50 fine was instituted for scofflaws, the MTA said Wednesday.

The agency’s most recent survey of subway ridership found 95 percent mask compliance on subways, up from 87 percent in late July and early August.

Mask usage on buses, meanwhile, increase from 94 percent to 97 percent, the Oct. 2 survey found. The financial penalties began Sept. 14.

“We’re going in the right direction,” spokesman Tim Minton told The Post. “We think the fact that the fines are possible is not a coincidence.”

Mask usage was above 90 percent in June, but began to slip as more people returned to public transit. A survey in late August found 91 percent mask usage — but 15 percent of mask-wearers were doing it wrong, tucking it under their nose or chin.

Transit officials have said the goal of the fine is to increase compliance, not dole out penalties.

Over three weeks since the fines went in effect, MTA police have ticketed just seven people for refusing to mask-up, Minton said.

Of those, five were intoxicated customers at Penn Station, he said.

Transit officials report over 7,000 police “encounters” since mid-September where riders were either given a mask or instructed to wear their mask properly.

“What we have seen since the fines were put into effect is that the mask usage across the transit system has increased,” Minton said.

“If that can be accomplished with more encounters and fewer fines and summonses, it’s a successful program.”

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