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'I'm Going To Risk It:' CBS2 Finds Many Subway Riders Still Not Wearing Masks As MTA Starts Issuing Fines

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is cracking down on riders who don't wear masks, saying the warning period is over.

Vaccinated or not, wearing masks on buses, subways and trains has been the rule for months. Now those who don't could face a $50 fine.

As CBS2's John Dias reported Thursday, some riders still weren't listening. He asked several straphangers why they weren't wearing masks.

One man responded with an aggressive and obscene hand gesture. Others were camera shy, one after another ducking away.

Another man said he doesn't need one.

"Because no matter what, the [isn't] going to help you," he told Dias.

He said he would rather take his chances with getting caught.

"Yeah, I'm going to risk it," he said.

Mask compliance on the rails is taking a dip in New York. Latest surveys show it's approximately 94% on board buses, 87% on subways, 92% on the Long Island Rail Road and 95% on Metro-North.

Back in 2020, MTA mask compliance was at almost 100%.

"It's a public health crisis right now, and I think people should be taking some responsibility for it on the individual level," Upper East Side resident Susmi C. said.

"They're not thinking about how they could spread it to others. They're being selfish," said Precious Smith, of Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Those Dias spoke to who were complying thought the fine is a smart idea.

"Fifty dollars is a lot, and I think it will get the message across," Upper East Side resident Roshan Vasion said.

Queens commuter Vanessa Cuesca said she hopes it's not just a publicity stunt and the city will actually pass out fines. In recent months, the MTA has issued about 40 summonses.

"I don't know how they're going to enforce it. I don't think they will," she said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the NYPD will not enforce the fines. It will be up to MTA officers. Transit officials said they don't expect blow back.

"We know this is what our customers want," said MTA Chief Safety Officer Patrick Warren.

If you forget your mask, transit workers will be passing them out for free at certain stations.

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