Cops, Courts and Fire Transportation

Due To Safety Worries, SEPTA Implements Ban On Full Head & Face Coverings

The move impacts all SEPTA property.

Passengers boarding a SEPTA train in Bucks County.
Credit: Erich Martin/

SEPTA’s new police chief announced Thursday the transit system was implementing a ban on full head and face coverings.

SEPTA police Chief Charles Lawson, who was appointed to the job earlier this month, said the ban will be in effect on SEPTA property, Regional Rail trains, buses, and trolleys in the city and suburbs.

During a Thursday news conference held in response to the fatal shooting incident on a bus the previous night where the perpetrator wore a face covering, Lawson said balaclavas or ski masks will not be allowed and anyone found wearing one will have to deal with officers. The chief called those “shiesty” masks.

“If you come on SEPTA property wearing your shiesty, you will be engaged by police. You’ve got two choices: remove it or we will escort you off the property,” Lawson said.

Lawson stated despite the masks obscuring a significant portion of a person’s face, they do not pose an insurmountable obstacle in identifying suspects.

He expressed concern over the frequent occurrence of riders wearing these full-head coverings, even in warm weather conditions.

“There is no legitimate reason, pandemic aside, to wear a full head covering in public for any purpose,” he said.

About the author

Alex Irving

Alex Irving is a freelance journalist based in Bucks County. They have been reporting on local news since 2022.