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Gov. Baker says public transit safe to ride amid pandemic: ‘People have done a lot of work to make it safe.’

Gov. Charlie Baker on Oct. 13, 2020. (Chris Van Buskirk/Pool)Chris Van Buskirk/Pool

Governor Charlie Baker on Wednesday urged Massachusetts residents to consider using public transportation, telling reporters that “people have done a lot of work to make it safe" amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Baker touched on the T during his a press conference on the state budget.

“I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again - I’ve ridden the T since the pandemic,” Baker said. “I believe it is safe.”

The governor cited studies that have shown it’s safe to ride the public transit as long as safety precautions such as masks are used.

Baker noted that T riders these days are generally masked up, and there’s “very little engagement.”


“There’s not a lot of talking. There’s certainly not a lot of yelling,” he said. “Most people have their heads down buried in their phone or a book or a newspaper, and there’s plenty of distance. I would really like to see people give the public transit system a try. People have done a lot of work to make it safe."

Ridership on the T, particularly the commuter rail, has plummeted amid the pandemic, with many commuters working from home.

On the one hand, ridership remains low on the commuter rail and subway, as well as some buses, causing a steep drop in fare revenue, and federal assistance that has so far staved off cutbacks is expected to expire by next summer. Meanwhile, some services, especially popular bus routes, have maintained much higher rates of their prepandemic ridership, providing lifelines for essential workers and low-income riders.

Transit officials have said they want to maintain service on busier routes where riders are most dependent on transit: communities of color, low-income areas, and routes where fewer people own cars.

Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.

Travis Andersen can be reached at