The Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District in Illinois (MetroLINK) has joined the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) “Health and Safety Commitments Program.” The program is 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.
According to a press release, the organization stated, "The health and safety of passengers and operators is the most important priority for MetroLINK’s Metro bus and specialized transportation services operation. By signing on to the APTA Health and Safety Commitments Program with more than 100 public transit systems, MetroLINK and the public transit industry are actively working to instill confidence in riders that it’s committed to protecting their health and safety."
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.
MetroLINK's current actions include:
- Requiring riders and drivers to mask up.
- Cleaning and disinfecting of buses and facilities throughout the day.
- Signage and social media messages communicating health and safety messages.
- Installation of touchless doors, sinks, and automated flushometers in all facilities.
- Installation of driver protective panels in all buses.
- Installation of touchless wheelchair securement systems.
- Distribution of over 3000 Ride Safe kits to passengers including hand sanitizer and reusable face covering.
- Installation of air purifiers on buses.
“Public transportation is and will be vital to the social and economic recovery of our communities”, said Jeff Nelson, APTA Vice Chair, and General Manager of MetroLINK. “We want current and future riders to view public transit as a safe and preferred mobility choice. We believe our health and safety efforts will help convey that message.”