As riders begin to return to public transportation in the Bay Area, surveys show that passengers want to be assured transit vehicles are clean and that steps are taken to ensure a healthy operation. With that in mind, transit operators in the nine Bay Area counties today unveiled a common set of standards based upon the industry’s best health-related practices.
“Riding Together: Bay Area Healthy Transit Plan” outlines action items to strengthen trust in riding transit, including frequent cleaning, personal protective equipment, face coverings, social distancing, ventilation, and touchless fares. Created as part of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Blue Ribbon Transit Recovery Task Force, six leaders of transit agencies spoke on different aspects of the plan at a news conference at the Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco.
Among other important points made, VTA General Manager/CEO Nuria Fernandez focused on the more than 100,000 Paratransit subscribers in the nine-county Bay Area and the critical service public transit provides for this vulnerable population, including transportation for their medical appointments and treatment.
“Public transit brings freedom of mobility and access for all, particularly for those who depend on its service as their sole means of transportation,” said Fernandez. “That is why it is critical we gain the confidence of all who rely on our service and that they know we are keeping our passengers and drivers safe.”
Fernandez referenced that drivers are provided an abundance of PPE and vehicles are being equipped with hand sanitizer. In addition, she referenced VTA’s recently installed a clear plastic “bubble,” or barrier, around the driver’s seat in the paratransit minivans to physically separate the driver from the passengers.
As part of the news conference, the different agencies demonstrated various cleaning procedures and other key elements to the Healthy Transit Plan. The VTA bus displayed the sturdy clear polycarbonate operator partitions and hand sanitizer dispensers that are being installed throughout the fleet as part of VTA’s 10 Point Plan to Strengthen Trust in Transit.