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MBTA service levels have been increased in the interest of the health and safety of our riders and employees. All riders must use face coverings when on the MBTA.

MBTA and New Balance Team Up to Ride Safer

Posted on November 17, 2020

Part of the T’s commitment to promoting the best public health practices.

Updated 11/23/20.

The MBTA and Boston-based New Balance have partnered to provide transit riders with 100,000 of the athletic brand’s general-use face masks as part of the T’s Ride Safer campaign to educate riders and shift behavior to the new way of riding on the T. Earlier today, Transit Ambassadors and MBTA Customer Service Agents began distributing face masks to riders needing them at Charles/MGH, Downtown Crossing, Forest Hills, Hynes Convention Center, Maverick, Orient Heights, Park Street, and Quincy Center Stations.

“I want to thank New Balance for working with us to promote public health on public transit. Ride Safer is a shared responsibility between the MBTA and our riding public, and New Balance’s contribution is appreciated,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “This effort is one of many that the T is taking to maintain the well-being and the safety of our customers and employees. The T asks riders to do their part, especially as we enter colder months, to defeat the pandemic by practicing safe hygiene, wearing face coverings, and distancing while on public transit.”

Last winter, New Balance complied with the direction in Massachusetts for non-essential businesses to close amid the coronavirus outbreak. No more than a week later, New Balance reopened its factory doors in Lawrence, MA, in order to manufacture general-use face masks for the healthcare community. The company has pivoted back to producing athletic footwear, but continues to donate a supply of its face masks for community benefit.

“New Balance is proud to help meet the continued needs for masks in Boston and its surrounding communities,” says New Balance Chief Operating Officer Dave Wheeler. “We are thankful that the innovative thinking of our associates, our long history of domestic manufacturing and the work of our highly skilled teams in our factories allowed us to quickly adapt to manufacturing masks earlier this year, and that we are able to join forces with the MBTA to distribute masks as part of the Ride Safer program.” 

On November 2, the Baker-Polito Administration strengthened its order requiring people to wear face coverings in public places to require anyone older than 5 years of age to wear a face covering in public, including public transit, regardless of their distance from others.

“The evidence has become clear that wearing a face mask or face covering is important in preventing the spread of the disease,” said Brown University Dean of the School of Public Health and former Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Dr. Ashish Jha. “When you wear a face mask, you are not doing it to protect your own health, you are doing it to protect the health of everyone around you. The way this works is that if everyone does that, we are all protecting each other and what we are doing is keeping everyone safe. It’s our unified front against the virus.”

Ride Safer first launched last June in conjunction with the MBTA increasing service as part of Phase 2 of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan. Ride Safer consists of 3 components: providing face masks to riders in need at key stations during peak travel times; signage and messaging to promote the importance of keeping a safe distance and wearing face coverings while on the T; and the Ride Safer webpage at that provides travel tips and a behind-the-scenes look at the MBTA’s expanded efforts to clean and disinfect stations and vehicles. 

At Maverick, Forest Hills, Ashmont, Charles/MGH, Downtown Crossing, Central, Haymarket, and South Station, the MBTA will also promote wellness and passenger distancing through signage and messaging on its digital screens. These stations were selected, in part, because the communities served by these stations represent the routes that have remained relatively steady throughout the pandemic.

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