VIA Metropolitan Transit announced that it has joined the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) “Health and Safety Commitments Program,” the public transportation industry’s overarching pledge to passengers that public transit systems are taking all the necessary measures to operate safely as the nation recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The health and safety of passengers and operators is the most important priority for VIA. Since the beginning of the pandemic, VIA personnel have worked tirelessly to keep riders safe from infection from the coronavirus, implementing a “safe capacity” maximum-passenger load of 16 riders at a time in early April and requiring face coverings on all agency buses, vans, and property. Learn more on VIA’s Safe Riding page.
“We realize that public transit is a necessity for many in our community every day and perhaps especially during a crisis, including those who may rely on transit as their only means of travel to critical service centers, meal distribution sites, or other necessary trips,” VIA President/CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt said. “By joining APTA’s Health and Safety Commitments Program we are assuring the public that we will safely meet the essential mobility needs of our community and continue to play an important role as our city and economy go into recovery.”
By signing on to the APTA Health and Safety Commitments Program with more than 100 public transit systems, VIA and the public transit industry are actively working to instill confidence in riders that it’s committed to protecting their health and safety when they are ready to resume riding VIA for all their travel needs.
The Program was developed after asking transit users from across the country what measures would make them feel more confident riding public transportation amid concerns about COVID-19. From this research, the industry identified four key areas that transit systems need to address to earn riders’ confidence:
♦ Following public health guidelines from official sources
♦ Cleaning and disinfecting transit vehicles frequently and requiring face coverings and other protections
♦ Keeping passengers informed and empowered to choose the safest times and routes to ride
♦ Putting health first by requiring riders and employees to avoid public transit if they have been exposed to COVID-19 or feel ill.
VIA has pledged to meet these commitments by implementing measures that are effective for our system, our riders, and our community. VIA is closely monitoring ridership and making alterations to maintain safe, reliable service, including adding frequency to routes that continue to see high ridership, adjusting routes with low ridership, and modifying others based on changing road conditions.
Customers are being welcomed back to VIA for all their travel needs. All passengers must continue to maintain social distancing aboard the bus whenever possible and non-exempt riders are required to wear a face covering while on a VIA vehicle or at a VIA facility.
“The program being launched today is the public transportation industry’s pledge to promote sensible policies and practices designed to keep transit users and transit employees safe during the COVID-19 crisis,” said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas. “It is a logical extension of the innovation and commitment we have been demonstrating for the past several months – and it makes the need for at least $32 billion in additional emergency funding that much more urgent and critical.”
A key component of the Health and Safety Commitments Program is the shared responsibility of our system and our riders to follow the guidelines. Riders rely on us to follow these commitments, and VIA relies on riders to protect themselves and other customers.