SolanoExpress Health and Safety Plan & Transit Updates on COVID 19 Safety Protocols
September 17, 2020
As part of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s (MTC’s) Blue Ribbon Transit Recovery Task Force recent efforts, MTC recently released a health and safety plan collectively developed by the region’s public transit operators. This Plan provides the drivers and riders with a consistent health and safety plan for the region’s 25 plus transit operators, including the five transit operators that provide service in Solano County, to strengthen trust in riding public transportation (Solano County Transit/SolTrans, Fairfield and Suisun Transit/FAST, Vacaville City Coach, Dixon Readi-Ride, Rio Vista Delta Breeze). These commitments are also based on information from the California Department of Public Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization. The implementation of mitigation steps is based on best practices from peer agencies across the globe. MTC has requested that all of the region’s transit operators adopt “The Riding Together, Health and Safety Plan.”
Listed below are eight safety measures that have been layered together to reduce the likelihood that an individual would contract COVID-19 while riding on SolanoExpress:
- Face Coverings
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19 and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others (CDC 2020a). With this in mind, face covering became mandatory for all SolanoExpress riders starting June 15, 2020.
- Physical Distancing
COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with each other and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks (CDC 2020b). To promote physical distancing, SolanoExpress buses will allow no more than 20 to 24 riders per bus.
- Hand Hygiene
Good hand hygiene can help slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol (CDC 2020a). Hand sanitizer is available for both bus operators and riders.
- A Quiet Ride Campaign
Droplets expelled through talking, singing, and other verbal activities are known to contribute to virus dispersion (CNN 2020; NEJM 2020). SolanoExpress operators will temporarily adopt the “Quiet Ride” communication campaign, requesting passengers minimize talking, singing or other verbal activities while riding public transportation to slow the spread of COVID-19. Necessary verbal activities, such as requesting a stop, are not precluded.
- Vehicle and Facility Conditions-Ventilation
Increased air flow can provide for a healthier environment for transit customers and employees (CDC 2020e; APTA 2020a). SolanoExpress doors are frequently opened to allow passengers to board or exit as well as windows that open, allowing additional ventilation. Where feasible, public transportation providers will increase ventilation and air filtration on vehicles and in facilities.
- Touchless Fares
Reducing cash fare payments reduces touch and disease transmittal potential and can reduce the need for face-to-face transactions. SolanoExpress operators are promoting touchless fare payment through Token Transit and Clipper.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Employees will wear the combination of PPE defined for their job requirements to safeguard themselves and others while in the work environment. STA and SolanoExpress bus operators have been issued PPE which they’re required to use while working. Moreover, driver barriers are being explored and will be installed when the materials are available.
- Infected Employees/contract tracing
SolanoExpress contractors will track employees that access transit facilities or equipment, as feasible. If an employee reports an infection, or possible contact with an infected person, SolanoExpress contractors will document and maintain records of what other employees may have come into contact with the exposed or infected employee and notify other employees. SolanoExpress contractors will report any confirmed infections to the Solano County Public Health Department.
The STA Board unanimously approved the Plan for Solano Express service at their September 9th Board meeting. The adherence to the above eight safety measures will be reported out monthly to MTC for SolanoExpress, along with all bay area transit operators, demonstrating alignment with the baseline health measures set forth in the Riding Together: Bay Area Healthy Transit Plan. Read the full plan at http://www.healthytransitplan.org/