By Tashanea Whitlow

BOSTON (CBS) — As the state reopens in stages, MBTA riders are adjusting to taking public transportation while dealing with a pandemic.

“You just gotta be careful. Wash your hands, use sanitizer, wear a mask,” said David Lopes of Jamaica Plain.

Wearing a mask is state order for all MBTA employees and riders as the Commonwealth reopens and people head back to work.

“I’m 62 years old so I don’t have no choice. I have to do what I gotta do to stay alive,” said Vinny, a Roxbury resident.

WBZ-TV spotted him, along with other riders, in Dudley Station in Roxbury – one of the hardest hit areas – following Gov. Charlie Baker’s executive order.

“If you wanna live, especially minorities, we’re dropping like flies. You know, you gotta protect yourselves,” Vinny, a father of three with five grandchildren, said.

Most riders in Dudley Station were wearing masks, gloves and practicing social distancing.

“I don’t sit near to nobody. I keep myself at a distance,” said Milly, a grandmother in her 80s, who is especially vulnerable. “I just get on the back and I get off on the back like they say.”

The MBTA has already implemented several safety changes to keep riders healthy, such as asking them to board the rear of the bus and wear a mask. You can expect those measures to be ramped up. Riders may see more cleaners disinfecting high contact areas, like bus doors and poles.

The T will continue to offer limited service, only increasing service as COVID-19 cases continue to decline and the state shifts into phase 2 of Gov. Baker’s reopening plan. Riders should not expect full service to resume until the end of June.

Tashanea Whitlow

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