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August 05, 2020

'Social distancing coaches' now encouraging SEPTA riders to wear masks

Mask compliance varies throughout the transit system

septa social distancing coach Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

SEPTA is using 'social distancing coaches' to answer riders' questions about mask compliance and other safety procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SEPTA is stationing so-called "social distancing coaches" throughout the transit system to remind riders to wear face masks and maintain space between others during the COVID-19 crisis. 

The coaches will be tasked with answering questions about mask compliance and social distancing. One or two coaches will be placed at some of SEPTA's busiest stations through Aug. 27. 

SEPTA is requiring all riders to wear face coverings, but compliance varies throughout the system. 

Mask compliance is highest on Regional Rail lines, at 96%, according to SEPTA. On city buses, it is at 95%. But it's only 63% on the Market-Frankford Line, where the coaches will be positioned first. 

The coaches will be at 15th Street Station and 69th Street and Frankford transportation centers on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

They later will be stationed on the Broad Street Line at Fern Rock Transportation Center and City Hall and Snyder stations. They also will be positioned at three Regional Rail hubs: Suburban, 30th Street and Jefferson stations. Suburban Regional Rail stations will follow. 

The social distancing coaches are to serve a role similar to SEPTA's ambassadors, who helped introduce the SEPTA Key fare payment program. 

"The coaches are there on behalf of SEPTA to thank our customers for riding the system and wearing masks, so we’re focusing on the positives first and foremost," Assistant General Manager for Customer Experience and Advocacy Kim Scott Heinle said. “We want riders to know that we’re doing everything we can to stop the spread and that their safety is paramount."

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