Customers reminded to wear masks, skip a seat when riding
VIA will implement a “safe capacity” maximum-passenger load of 16 riders at a time, beginning Wednesday, April 8. It’s the next of several steps VIA has taken to help protect passengers and operators while continuing to provide essential trips.
VIA set a goal of decreasing passenger loads to allow for social distancing aboard buses when routes began running on a modified “Saturday” schedule this week. Drivers were asked to keep an informal count and called in to Dispatch for a “spacer” bus to be sent out on the route. On Wednesday, VIA will begin enforcing the 16-passenger limit and continue to send out additional buses throughout the day to relieve overages.
Once a bus reaches 16 passengers, operators will display a message in the bus destination sign that reads “At Safe Capacity.” This will let customers know that the bus is at its maximum load for that trip and they should board the next bus. This helps maintain social distancing and provides a safer space for everyone traveling.
Maintaining a safe capacity limit will further promote social distancing and protect everyone on board. A VIA bus typically carries 35-40 seated passengers. The 16-person limit would represent less than half of the seating capacity. Passengers will not be allowed to stand. Riders using walkers or wheelchairs can continue to ask for assistance when boarding.
Local health and government officials, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), now recommend that everyone cover their nose and mouth while outside their homes, including when taking public transportation. San Antonians are asked to wear a face covering while out in public.
While no local coronavirus cases have been linked to public transit use, VIA is asking customers and employees to take the extra precaution for their safety and the safety of everyone who continues to make essential trips. Other measures in place, include:
- Gloves, masks, hand sanitizer and wipes for operators.
- Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting program for vehicles and facilities, including overnight and mid-day cleanings of high-traffic, high-touch surfaces like doors, handles, rails, straps, stop buttons and seats.
- Hand-sanitizing stations for customers and employees to use between hand washing.
- Audio and visual safety messaging in English and Spanish for passengers.
- Fares suspended through April 30 so customers don’t have to touch the fare box or crowd the door when boarding, to further protect operators and customers.
- Removal of or restricted access to seats nearest to the driver.
- Seat covers or signs reminding passengers to practice social distancing by skipping a seat.
- Reduced routes and hours to maintain service for essential trips only.
- Additional “spacer” buses on routes to help avoid crowding.
VIA began implementing temporary service adjustments Monday, April 6, in response to lower demand for service, while maintaining essential service for those who must continue to travel. Riders should only make essential trips during this time, and observe the city’s “Stay Home, Work Safe” order that requires residents in the area to shelter in place and practice social distancing in public.
A detailed list of changes is available at VIAinfo.net. Customers can plan bus trips on the VIA goMobile app or on Google by entering a trip date starting April 6. For assistance planning trips, call our VIA Go Line at (210) 362-2020.
For updates and information about VIA’s response to COVID-19, visit VIAinfo.net/covid-19.