LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — DASH buses run shorter distances in and around the city of Los Angeles, but drivers are angry because they have been told they cannot enforce the mayor’s directives of social distancing and wearing face coverings amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Let them know that we’re afraid for our lives,” one bus driver said. “You guys are not protecting us.”
DASH drivers were afraid and angry as they shared photos of people boarding the bus without masks and ignoring social distancing guidelines after boarding with CBS Los Angeles.
“We have to pick them up,” the driver said. “They’re not standing six feet away. We have some people being coughed on.”
The buses, run by a private company that contracts with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, seat only about 30 people.
And while changes have been made, such as boarding through the back doors only, drivers say they are not allowed to require passengers to wear a face covering, despite an order by Mayor Eric Garcetti that requires people to cover their faces while in essential businesses.
“We’re pushing that issue right now because we have an order from the mayor,” Alfonso Pallaros, a bus driver, said.
LADOT said that while masks were strongly recommended in public places, they are not mandatory on public transportation, despite the mayor’s directive and concerns of drivers.
But through it all, bus driver Elijah Green said there are some bright spots.
“There was a man that got on the other day, and the people just went berserk,” Green said. “And a gentleman handed him a mask. I thought it was lovely. I said, ‘Sir, thank you for doing that.'”