Red Deer bus passengers will be asked to wear a mask starting Monday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Masks mandatory on Red Deer transit starting next week

Riders are also being encouraged to report people not following COVID-19 health guidelines

Red Deer Transit riders are being reminded to wear their masks.

The city passed a mandatory mask policy for public transit on Aug. 17 and will begin enforcement of the bylaw on Monday.

“Our focus throughout the whole pandemic is, and continues to be, education versus issuing fines, wherever possible,” said municipal policing services manager Bart Rowland.

“Over the next few weeks, we will increase patrols on transit buses and at stations and hubs in an effort to educate riders about the new bylaw.”

The city is also encouraging transit users to report riders not following COVID-related Alberta Health Services guidelines by calling the police non-emergency line at 403-343-5575.

Transit drivers will not be enforcing mask wearing.

“We would not be expecting bus drivers to take things into their own hands with the law. We wouldn’t do that,” said city manager Allan Seabrooke before the bylaw was passed by city council.

“All you do is just ask people to respect the rules. I think, for the most part, what we’ve experienced here in Red Deer is our cases are very manageable, and generally, Red Deerians are really protecting each other,” he said.

The city has also launched new transit routes over the past month and will have more next week.

There will be one additional school service route this year, Route 42.

The route should enhance regular transit options between the Clearview and Rosedale neighbourhoods with Lindsey Thurber High School.

“With a new school year kicking off for most Red Deer students, our school service routes pick up again to ensure transportation to and from school is in place,” said transit manager George Penny.

“Although we’ve revamped all regular transit routes, all school routes, stops and schedules remain unchanged from last year, so students who used these buses will see no changes to their commute.”

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