The discussion and debate, which lasted about three hours, ranged from issues of enforcement to definitions of masks.
Debate ended when all councillors, save for Ward 1’s Darren Hill, voted in favour of the recommendation.
The matter stemmed from a report from the city’s administration, which recommended the measures.
Currently, Saskatoon buses have a very limited capacity so that passengers can maintain physical distance from each other.
The report said ridership is likely to increase in the autumn, when students return to school and when the weather becomes cooler.
If passengers wear masks, the report said, the physical distancing can be reduced and more people will be able to fit on one bus.
In response to questions from councillors Randy Donauer and Hilary Gough, the administration said the compliance in other cities with similar bylaws suggested it would not be an issue and that the responsibility would not fall to bus drivers.
Pamela Goulden-McLeod, Saskatoon’s director of emergency management, said no one would be turned away if they weren’t wearing a mask.
The committee also voted to have the administration report back, before the next budget discussions in November, about the cost of installing barriers to separate drivers from passengers on existing buses and to only order new buses with the barrier in place.
The city will provide disposable non-medical face masks for the first two weeks, to support transit user’s developing the habit.
The matter is scheduled to come before city council next Monday.