Plan emphasizes that VTA is clean, safe and consistent
In an effort to strengthen the public’s trust and level of comfort in riding VTA buses and trains, an internal recovery task force working group met for several weeks to craft a plan to ensure riders feel confident during these times of extraordinary caution. Since the onset of the pandemic, VTA has adapted to meet the resulting unprecedented challenges, while still trying to serve the needs of customers.
With ridership and funding down significantly, and the temporary suspension of fare collection, VTA reduced service to a more reliable operating level. Over the past several weeks and months, additional protections have been put in place for our bus and train operators and passengers as ridership appears to be increasing gradually. Service has also started to increase incrementally and, with the new protections in place, VTA plans to resume fare collection on Aug. 1.
To ensure our returning riders can be confident in our system, VTA is taking the following 10 steps:
1. Clean and Sanitize Vehicles and Facilities
VTA has enhanced cleaning efforts based on CDC recommendations and, along with all the region’s transit agencies, by utilizing industry best practices. VTA buses, trains, Access Paratransit vehicles and transit facilities are cleaned every day, and frequently touched surfaces are disinfected throughout the day using CDC-approved cleaning products .
2. Require Face Coverings
The State of California and Santa Clara County have made it mandatory to wear a face covering while riding transit. Passengers cannot ride VTA without one unless exempt. Please remember to cover your mouth and nose and reduce loud talking to keep droplets from spreading. Always cough or sneeze into a tissue or elbow (even with a mask on!)
3. Safely Distance
Health officials recommend maintaining a safe distance from others. Please spread out while waiting for transit and on buses and trains, except when with people from your same household.
4. Maintain a Healthy Workforce
All VTA employees are provided ample protective and safety equipment and supplies to do their jobs safely. As essential workers, VTA employees receive priority COVID-19 testing and are required to stay home if sick.
5. Adjust Service Frequency/Hours Based on Demand
As shelter-in-place restrictions are eased over time, we are working with employers and educational institutions on return-to-work and school reopening plans to adjust service. We are operating “COVID Service” and will continue to make adjustments through 2020. We will seek public input as we develop the 2021 Transit Service Plan.
6. Protect Operators and Passengers
VTA implemented rear-door boarding to safeguard passengers and operators. We are installing operator partitions to limit contact. In addition to partitions, operators are provided a variety of protective equipment, including face masks, face shields and other items to be worn as appropriate when helping passengers. This is for our operators’ safety and yours.
7. Increase Contactless Payment/Fare Collection
VTA paused fare collection to reduce the interaction between operators and passengers. To reduce surface touch points on transit when fare collection resumes, consider downloading VTA’s EZfare app on your phone or get a Clipper Card and load funds online in advance instead of paying cash at the farebox.
8. Increase Customer Information
Customer Service Representatives are available by phone and email to help with your trip planning needs. The Transit app is recommended for real-time service updates and automated information can be accessed at 408-321-2300 in multiple languages. Updates will continue to be provided at www.vta.org/covid-19.
9. Adopt New Technology and Industry Methodology
We are closely monitoring industry best practices and exploring new technologies to stop the spread of COVID-19. New methods will be evaluated and implemented when proven to be effective and suited to VTA operations.
10. Enhance Community Partnerships
Work continues with Santa Clara County, public health officials and community-based organizations to engage and inform underserved, underrepresented and unhoused populations. This collaboration will enhance our communications with all those we wish to welcome back to transit.
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