Transit agencies across the country have been stepping up to ensure vital service while taking safety precautions for staff and riders alike during the COVID-19 outbreak. Metro Transit in St. Louis is setting the bar high in the Midwest by constantly reviewing and tweaking protocols to do just that. Metro Transit is delivering vital service for essential employees including healthcare workers, doctors, first responders, and other essential employees.
“Transit is essential to our communities even during a pandemic, and Metro Transit continues to move the safety protocol needle in the Midwest by introducing new measures all the time to provide service in this ever-changing environment. While ridership may be down now, transit will be even more essential as we get back to the job of building safe, prosperous and economically productive communities,” said Kim Cella, CMT executive director.
Over the course of the last six weeks, Metro Transit has introduced many new measures to ensure the safety of not only their riders but their drivers:
- They began temperature screening all employees and distributing wrist bands for those who had temperatures “good to go.”
- Orange lines have been added on buses and trains to promote social distancing from the operators.
- Cash fares on buses were suspended to eliminate contact, and rear doors were being opened for access.
- Continues upgrades to cleaning protocols have been instituted over the last six weeks. In addition, they adjusted the service profile to allow for mid-day and end of line cleaning of the vehicles.
- PPE is provided to all operators including masks and gloves.
- New polycarbonate barriers were installed on the entire bus fleet to ensure operator safety.
- Signage throughout the system is calling for social distancing for riders.
- Seated load capacity on buses to allow for social distancing.
- As of April 20, Metro Transit created a new service plan to adjust to essential employment during the COVID outbreak. Cross-town routes like the Kingshighway and Grand saw an increase in ridership of essential worker traffic. More service was added to these lines while other routes were reduced or temporarily suspended.
As Missouri takes steps out of lockdown, Metro Transit will be recommending all passengers wear masks, will continue to have social distancing protocols on vehicles, and increased cleaning on vehicles.