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LA County Looks To Strengthen Mask Policy For Metro Bus Riders In Response To David Goldstein Investigation

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - There's new reaction tonight to our CBS2 investigation on Metro bus drivers forced to work extra days to cover for those out sick suffering from COVID.

Investigative reporter David Goldstein heard from several drivers complaining about having to board passengers without masks, as well as being fatigued working long hours and six-day weeks.

Now elected officials are responding.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger says she was surprised to hear about it in our investigation. She says they have to keep the buses moving, but it shouldn't come with sacrificing safety.

"I think it's necessary but I don't think it should be mandatory," she said. "Because if someone says I can't work and they are exhausted, we should honor the fact that they can't work."

We also heard from drivers who are ordered to board patrons not wearing a mask - even though the message on the front of the bus tells passengers masks are mandatory. Metro says they don't want to put drivers in the position of policing the policy.

But Barger and other politicians introduced a motion with the Metro board asking that they strengthen the mask policy.

"I think we need to find a balance, because I don't want them to be the enforcer and I think we're going to have to figure out a way to put more teeth in the idea that if you're not wearing a mask, you're not getting on public transit," said Barger.

That might be easier said than done, with drivers telling Goldstein that sometimes 20% of passengers don't have masks. Metro disputes that, saying it's much higher.

Either way, Barger says masks and forced overtime will now have to be addressed.

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