NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has a new plan for enforcing mask rules on mass transit.

Starting Monday, Sept. 14, riders who are not wearing a face covering can be hit with a $50 fine, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported.

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The plan, unveiled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has a twofold goal: reduce automobile congestion that’s once again choking the city, and boost ridership by convincing people mass transit is safe.

“New York City cannot deal with the vehicular traffic of everyone commuting by car and not taking public transportation,” said Cuomo.

“It’s really important that riders feel confident coming back to the system,” said Interim Transit Authority President Sarah Feinberg.

On Sept. 8, subway ridership was just over 1.5 million, down 72% from before the coronavirus pandemic.

Bus ridership was just over 1 million, down 53%.

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CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

“We also know that, even six months in, both in New York City and in other cities where transit ridership is even higher… no clusters of illness have been traced back to transit,” Feinberg said.

Mask compliance is already high: about 96% on buses, 90% on the subway, Long Island Railroad and Metro-North.

Officials said getting the numbers even higher would get more people to ride the subway.

“I always feel much safer when I’m in a subway car and I see everybody wearing masks. Whenever there’s people without them, I get a little nervous,” said Anette Fletcher, from Washington Heights.

MTA police will enforce the fines. Officials hope the NYPD will also participate.

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