SEPTA revokes mask mandate after unmasked man pulled off bus

SEPTA says it is “strongly encouraging” riders wear a mask or facial covering after video surfaced online that showed police physically remove a man — who was not wearing a face mask — from a bus.

The incident occurred just before 8:30 a.m. Friday at 11th and Market streets.


Police said a SEPTA bus driver asked the man to leave the bus following a disturbance. When the rider failed to comply, the driver called 911.

"My understanding is that an individual was riding the bus without a mask. The bus driver asked the individual to leave the bus or get off the bus. He refused," said Philadelphia Managing Director Brian Abernathy.


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Since the video has surfaced online, SEPTA has revoked its one-day-old mask mandate, instead "strongly encouraging" passengers to wear a facial covering.

"I want to be very clear the police were not responding to social distancing complaint," Abernathy said. "Police were responding to the fact that the person was asked to leave and refused."

A SEPTA spokesperson told FOX 29's Jennifer Joyce the agency does not want its policies to incite conflict or disrupt service.

Mayor Jim Kenney reminded residents that SEPTA employees are on the front lines and their safety is essential.

"We're in strange times and people are reacting in strange ways, but I don’t blame the bus driver.  He or she is on an eight hour shift or more and wants to feel safe and make sure the other riders are safe," Kenney said.


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