RTD driver asks passengers to wear masks, says not doing so puts other people's lives in jeopardy

Posted at 4:39 PM, Jul 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-14 19:46:37-04

AURORA, Colo. -- Laura Vigil drives a number of bus routes for the Regional Transportation District (RTD). The message is clear to passenger who get on: Wear your mask. The problem is, many don’t.

“Throughout the day maybe 10 to 15,” she said.

Vigil says a recent conversation with an elderly passenger really hit home.

“He asked me why am I allowing people to get on the bus without face masks and I’m putting his life and everybody else’s life on that bus in jeopardy,” she said.

And that’s just it. She can't make passengers wear masks. So, we checked it out and found most people had face coverings, but, sure enough, not all.

“My hands are tied so there is nothing I can do unless RTD changes that policy,” Vigil said.

Denver7 reached out to RTD about their current policy on masks. Officials sent back this response:

“When someone boards without a face covering, operators can ask the customer to wear one however operators are also instructed that their first priority is to focus on operating the vehicle. We have a limited supply of face coverings that operators can offer a customer who is not wearing one.

Operators cannot refuse service to someone not wearing a face covering. RTD must make reasonable modifications for those individuals who are unable to wear a face covering because of disability reasons.

We have signage and messaging on our vehicles, at our facilities and in communication pieces reminding passengers that mask-wearing is required. We ask that passengers be our partners in safety by wearing a mask and social-distancing but we simply cannot put that burden of enforcement on our operators when they are trying to safely operate their vehicles.”

Many of the area’s Vigil serves have mask mandates. Still, many ignore them. To avoid conflicts between drivers and passengers, RTD says it’s working on other protections including plexiglass shields and offering masks to passengers.

That’s all great, but Vigil just wants passengers to do their part too.

“I feel like people should be a little more aware and concerned about the safety of others. Respect others and wear a mask because, you know, we’re bringing this home to our families and it’s scary,” she said.

Vigil wants to get her passenger to their destinations safely… and just wants to go home each night, COVID-19 free.