Public transit is even safer now, with Mason Transit Authority (MTA) enhancing safety protocols to meet new COVID-19 guidelines recently issued by the Washington State Department of Health for transportation agencies.
“We have intensely focused on cleaning, physical distancing and wearing face coverings since last spring,” said Danette Brannin, Mason Transit Authority General Manager. “These new state guidelines clarify industry standards and help us all ride safely.”
Personal safety is the priority. Face coverings are required for employees, riders and people in vehicles and at MTA facilities including the Transit-Community Center in Shelton. Face masks are available to riders who don’t have one. Hand sanitizer stations are in place now on all vehicles, including the front and rear doors of buses.
Physical distancing is maintained on vehicles and in the Transit-Community Center. MTA has installed new barriers around drivers, and whenever possible riders board and off-board at the rear of the bus. Bus rows and seats are now blocked off to ensure safe distances for riders. If a bus is full, another bus or vehicle will be dispatched to pick up riders waiting at a stop.
“We are very careful to ensure no riders are left behind when buses fill up,” Brannin emphasized.
MTA is also again limiting the number of riders scheduled for each Dial-a-Ride trip, which not only makes trips safer, it also makes the shared rides faster.
MTA’s fare-free rides within Mason County also help lower the risk of spreading the disease because no tickets or cash are involved. Riders for out-of-county trips may purchase tickets online or through the Token Transit mobile app. The fare box is still available for out-of-county trips if needed.
Daily employee health screenings and cleaning of high-touch services on vehicles also help keep riders safe. “We have a COVID-19 coordinator who helps monitor employee health and enforce our safety plan. Our team is committed to passenger safety,” Brannin said.
Mason Transit Authority is a partner in the Health & Safety Commitments Program of The American Public Transportation Association.