The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our communities and how we move through them. Despite many challenges, Community Transit has continued providing an essential service to people traveling throughout Snohomish County and the region. Public transit has helped get people to their front-line jobs and helped connect riders with crucial resources and services. The past year has underscored the importance of public transportation and how it can serve as a lifeline to communities in crisis.
The Snohomish Health District says that taking public transit is no more or less safe than other public places during this time. This is due, in part, to the many measures transit agencies have taken across the country to help keep people safe and reduce the spread of the virus.
“Local transit agencies have stepped up to make sure illness prevention and social distancing requirements are in place,” says Snohomish Health District.
How is Community Transit working to keep riders and employees safe? With the guidance of public health experts, Community Transit has enacted multiple measures to help reduce contact on buses for riders and drivers:
- Masks are required for riders, and are provided as needed
- Air filters on buses were upgraded to the highest-rated filter, with the air inside of buses being exchanged for fresh air about every five minutes even with windows closed
- Every bus is disinfected daily with an emphasis on surfaces that are touched more frequently, like handrails and poles
- Seats are closed to allow riders to sit a safe distance apart
- Extra buses are deployed as needed to help increase social distancing on routes that have more riders
- Health screenings and protective gear are supplied to drivers
Public transit will be crucial in offering safe, equitable, and accessible travel options as communities recover. Those concerned about how small businesses and local economies will recover from the pandemic can find hope in our region’s investments in light rail and other public transportation services. Investment in transit benefits our local economy as well as bringing mobility and equity benefits to our region.
As our communities work together to move forward, Community Transit will continue to connect communities while prioritizing safety.
To learn more about Community Transit’s safety measures and how riders can protect themselves and others on transit, visit communitytransit.org/ridesafely.