South Shore Line discontinues ‘mask noncompliance’ car

Nov. 18, 2020
The cars had been a way to avoid conflict between riders who were not in compliance with face coverings, but a statewide mask mandate has brought the option to an end.

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) has ended its “mask noncompliance” car on its South Shore Line (SSL) as of Nov. 15 following implementation of a gubernatorial executive order requiring all people wear face coverings in the state.  

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an executive order that went into effect Nov. 15 putting into place protocols and protections to aid the state in its continued fight against the pandemic, including a statewide mask mandate. Local governments may impose more restrictive guidelines.

Indiana has had an active standing executive order requiring face coverings while on public transit and South Shore Line riders have been required to wear a face covering as of early May, but NICTD explains the order did not provide the railroad with a clear means of enforcement.

In July, the NICTD began offering South Shore Line riders a “mask noncompliance” car on its trains to respect the choices of those riders wearing face coverings and those who did not. NICTD noted mask-related complaints decreased dramatically following the “mask noncompliance” car’s entrance into service.

The most recent order signed by Gov. Holcomb requires all businesses operating in the state to enforce the mask mandate or face closure.

“The SSL will strictly enforce the mask mandate at stations and on trains. Passengers who do not comply with the order will be subject to removal from trains,” explained NICTD.

The railroad will provide a mask free of charge, a practice that has been in place for many months, to any passenger in need of one.

There are exemptions to the state’s mask mandate including those with medical/health issues and children under the age of eight.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.