VTA is taking the pledge outlined in the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Health & Safety Commitments Program, continuing its steadfast commitment to riders and employees that the public can trust a safe and clean ride.
From the onset of the national health crisis, VTA has worked tirelessly to keep riders and employees safe from COVID-19. On July 1, VTA launched its own 10-Point Plan to Strengthen Trust in Transit developed to create safe and healthy practices for getting the public riding again, and to ensure safeguards for our employees to continue working.
The APTA Health & Safety Commitments Program focuses on innovative transit solutions that fall under four key pillars:
- Public health guidelines
- Vehicle disinfection and safety protocols
- Passenger education and empowerment
- Health-first policies that promote shared responsibility
The program is marked by a “seal of commitment” that you will start to see on VTA vehicles and communications to customers who we are also asking to participate in this united front to help slow the spread of COVID.
Today, APTA leadership was joined by transit executives and members of its Mobility Recovery and Restoration Task Force, responsible for developing the program, along with over 100 transit agencies already taking the pledge. These agencies represent two-thirds of the U.S. transit ridership.
“This program emphasizes the commitment that this industry is making to all those we serve now and to those who we look forward to serving,” said Nuria I. Fernandez, VTA’s General Manager/CEO and APTA’s Executive Committee Chair. “Public transportation is and will be vital to the social and economic recovery of our nation. But getting there requires us to win back our ridership and encourage new riders to view public transit as a preferred mobility choice. We believe the commitments program will help accomplish this.”
In line with the national program, VTA’s 10-Point Plan highlights the leading efforts made very early on to implement safety protocols with the suspension of fare collection and allowing rear-door entry for safer distancing. VTA immediately began installing clear operator partitions as well as enforcing mandatory face-covering requirements. This was in addition to providing necessary Personal Protective Equipment for all front-line workers and enhanced cleaning and sanitizing measures.
VTA’s most recent effort to address evolving public health official mandates is the installation of hand sanitizer dispensers on vehicles. While not mandated, VTA is also installing dispensers with individually wrapped masks on buses and trains.
Riding Together: Bay Area Healthy Transit Plan
In addition to the national pledge taken today, the VTA Board of Directors voted to endorse the Bay Area Healthy Transit Plan at its Sept. 3 meeting. The regional transit plan outlines action items for frequent cleaning, personal protective equipment, face coverings, social distancing, ventilation, and touchless fares aimed to keep transit safe for all Bay Area residents and transit employees.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission formed a 30-member Blue Ribbon Transit Recovery Task Force, in which VTA played a key role, to develop the plan which was crafted using guidance and best practices from the California Department of Public Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
As part of the Bay Area Healthy Transit Plan commitment, VTA and other agencies in the Bay Area will be reporting statistics on the percentage of customers and employees wearing face coverings, internal contact tracing completed and vehicle capacity to allow for physical distancing.
Whether on the national, regional or local level, VTA is committed to monitor rider and employee health, and collaboratively take steps to respond to changing conditions in our shared quest to provide safe and healthy transit trips for all.