System Alert: COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) UPDATES. Learn more.


What you need to know to ride

Effective February 1, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control will enforce guidance requiring that all “persons” riding on or operating public transit and at transit stations must wear a mask.

To effectively comply with this Order, MVRTA will implement the following policy system-wide effective February 11, 2021.

  1. All “persons[1]” (including MVRTA employees) who are onboard a vehicle or at a transit station are required to wear a mask
  2. MVRTA will continue to enforce the requirement to wear masks while waiting at bus stops, shelters, or in public areas in any MVRTA facility.

As defined in the Order, a mask must;

  • Completely cover the nose and mouth
  • Fit snugly
  • Be secured to the head either with ties or ear loops
  • Should be a solid piece of material without slits, exhalation valves, or punctures

The following are not acceptable under CDC guidelines, and riders and others may not be allowed on vehicles or in facilities if they are using a mask composed of the following: Scarves, ski masks, balaclavas, neck gaiters, or bandannas; Shirt or sweater collars pulled up over the mouth and nose. Masks made from loosely woven fabric or that are knitted, i.e., fabrics that let light pass through, Masks made from materials that are hard to breathe through (such as vinyl, plastic, or leather), masks containing slits, exhalation valves, or punctures or masks that do not fit properly.

The Order also requires operators to “use best efforts” to ensure compliance at all times, including boarding, disembarking, and at all times onboard the vehicle or in transit stations.  To ensure compliance, operators and employees must;

  • Refuse to board passengers who are not wearing a mask.
    • If the unmasked person is waiting for a bus, the operator should stop and inform the passenger that a mask must be worn before boarding.
    • If the passenger refuses to comply, the trip may be denied.
    • A passenger with a known history of non-compliance who is not wearing a mask may be bypassed.
  • Ensure compliance when onboard
    • Passengers who remove their masks once onboard must be reminded to wear the mask properly. If they refuse, the operator must require them to disembark as soon as it is practical to do so. If the passenger refuses, a supervisor must be consulted for guidance.   The Supervisor will decide if law enforcement assistance is needed.
    • Service should not be delayed due to concerns regarding a passenger without a mask. However, if non-compliance with the mask policy creates an unsafe situation, service may be delayed, and a supervisor must be notified immediately.
    • While the operator is ultimately responsible for ensuring compliance on board, it is equally important to ensure safe vehicle operation; the operator is not expected to monitor compliance at the expanse of safely operating the vehicle.
    • Repeated incidents of non-compliance may result in the person’s suspension of riding privileges.

Facility specific:

  • No person may be allowed entry to any MVRTA facility without wearing an appropriate mask as outlined above.
  • Persons who remove a mask or cease to wear it appropriately once in a MVRTA facility must be asked to wear the mask properly or leave.

Masks may be removed in the following situations

  • While taking medication
  • While communicating with a person who is hearing impaired when the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication
  • In a medical emergency
  • To verify one’s identity


This Order provides limited exemptions;

  1. The Order exempts children 2 and under from the requirement
  2. A person with a disability who cannot wear a mask “because of the disability.
  • Supervisors may impose requirements, or conditions for carriage, on persons requesting an exemption from the requirement to wear a mask, including medical consultation by third party, medical documentation by licensed medical provider.

[1] The order defines “persons” to include travelers (including passengers and crew), “conveyance operators and any workers of service providers “

Mask Exemption Card

Customers who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition that prevents them from wearing it, need to have proof of that condition and should obtain an exemption card from the MVRTA.

Customers interested in getting an exemption card need to:

  • Bring proper medical documentation by licensed medical provider to one of our Transit Centers (Buckley, Lawrence or Washington Square, Haverhill)
  • Bring and ID

Customers will be required to show the exemption card to the driver when boarding.

Please know that we take our responsibility to keep Massachusetts safe very seriously.  Be assured we have taken the following steps to comply with state mandatory safety standard for workplaces

  • Workers are wearing face coverings and we’ve put social distancing measures in place.
  • We provide hand washing capabilities and we are regularly sanitizing high-touch areas.
  • Our staff has received training regarding social distancing and hygiene protocols.
  • We have established thorough cleaning and disinfecting protocols.

We ask you to do your part as well by wearing your face mask and maintaining social distance.

Main Office at 85 Railroad Ave hours

Main office is open from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday – Friday.

We are following the procedures and guidelines recommended to all agencies from the US DOT and the CDC

  • The MVRTA Maintenance Team is sanitizing all vehicles each night.
  • Operators and supervisors have all been provided training on how to protect themselves from the virus. The training was mandatory.
  • New and updated memos from the CDC continue to be posted on how everyone can protect themselves. These memos and updates will be posted at MVRTA transit centers, Buckley, McGovern, Washington Sq. Haverhill and Amesbury.
  • MVRTA’s Operations team has developed procedures should staff become infected; how to protect themselves and others from spreading infection.
  • All bus and van drivers carry pocket size hand sanitizer since soap and water is not available on the road. Sanitizer products are available to all staff.
  • Hand sanitizer stations are located in the MVRTA administration office lobby and transit centers. These are available to the public.
  • Finally use common sense, wash your hands frequently, stay home if you are sick, seek medical attention if your symptoms become severe.

If you are sick and have a cough, cold, fever, or having symptoms of Covid-19, do not take MVRTA transit service.  If urgent medical care is needed, use a personal vehicle or call an ambulance to get to the provider’s location.