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RTA extends its face mask requirements

Today, the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) extended its face mask requirement while riding buses, streetcars, ferries, and paratransit vehicles, through March 18, 2022. This extension corresponds with the announcement made today by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). 

The RTA originally instituted a mask requirement for passengers on agency vehicles during the Spring of 2020. While this announcement extends the date of enforcement, all other aspects of the requirement remain unchanged, including exemptions and civil penalties. Failure to comply may result in denial of boarding or removal. The refusal to wear a mask is a violation of federal law and passengers may be subject to penalties under federal law.

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Employer Tax-Free Programs

If your company employs workers who use RTA buses and streetcars to get to their jobs, you can help them out by paying for their fares either in full or in part. With RTA’s employer program, your employees will get a 31-Day Jazzy Pass each month, and your company will receive a tax write-off for whatever amount of money it puts into the program.

RTA’s employer program benefits both companies and employees.

Benefits for employers:

  • Your company can save on taxes – The IRS considers any funds allocated to commuter programs to be a pre-tax fringe benefit. As a result, your company does not have to pay payroll taxes on these funds.
  • Build better employee morale – Your employees will enjoy the fringe benefit of fully or partially paid transportation to and from work. They will appreciate your decision to provide this added benefit to them.
  • Foster better attendance – When your employees have an active Jazzy Pass in their purse or pocket, you’re likely to see an overall improvement in attendance.

Benefits for employees:

  • More money – With their employer taking care of commuting costs, your employees will have more disposable income each pay period.
  • Save on taxes – If your company chooses to subsidize only a portion of the cost of employees’ monthly passes, employees can cover the balance with pre-tax dollars.
  • Unlimited free rides - Jazzy Passes are good for unlimited trips on the RTA system, not just to and from work. Employees will have the ability to get to doctors’ offices, grocery stores, shopping centers, schools, daycare and more! 

RTA’s employer program falls under the IRS’ Internal Revenue Code Section 132 and the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. Your accountant can help you decide how to structure the program in a way that works best for your company.

For more information or to sign up, please email the RTA’s Pass Sales office at

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