By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Like everything else, public transportation has been transformed by the pandemic. Instead of trying to fill buses and trains, transit agencies find themselves encouraging people to stay home and only make essential trips. However, public transit providers throughout the country have adapted and are now welcoming riders back with new health and sanitation measures to insure a safe ride for everyone.
Transit agencies in San Bernardino County have joined a national effort led by the American Public Transit Association called the APTA Health & Safety Commitments Program. Said SBCTA President Frank J. Navarro, “The program asks public transit agencies to commit to put in place policies and practices that transit users have told us they want and expect.”
The program defines four core categories of responsibilities – for transit agencies and for their passengers – making this a partnership for health and safety. “Just as riders rely on public transit, we rely on our passengers to protect themselves and one another by respecting these commitments,” Navarro said.
The four commitments are:
o Following official public health guidelines; asking riders to follow them, too.
o Protecting each other by cleaning and disinfecting vehicles and facilities; asking riders to clean their hands and wear a face covering.riders can pay their fare using Touchpass.
o Giving riders the information they need about crowded vehicles and routes; asking riders to give each other safe space and use transit at less busy times.
o Requiring transit employees to stay home if they’re sick or have been exposed to COVID-19; asking riders to do the same.
In addition to the basics of disinfecting vehicles, requiring masks and facilitating social distancing, another way that San Bernardino’s transit agencies are fulfilling these commitments is with technology tools that give passengers the information they need to use transit safely and easily.
o Metrolink riders can use the new “How Full Is My Train?” tool on the website to help riders plan ahead and ensure there’s enough room for social distancing aboard the train. metrolinktrains.com/howfull<https://metrolinktrains.com/howfull>;.
o Omnitrans riders can relay bus crowding information using the Transit app’s GO step-by-step navigator, all in real time.
Contactless Fare Payment using a smartphone
o Omnitrans riders can pay their fare from within the Transit app or in Token Transit.
o Metrolink riders can pay their fare using the Metrolink Mobile app <https://metrolinktrains.com/ticketsOverview/where-to-buy/mobile-app/>.
o VVTA riders can pay their fare using Touchpass.
o Mountain Transit riders can pay their fare with the Token Transit app.
o Metrolink riders can track their train on https://metrolinktrains.com/traintracker<https://metrolinktrains.com/traintracker>.
o Omnitrans riders can get realtime bus arrival information in the Transit app.
o VVTA riders can get real-time information in the VVTA mobile app.
o Mountain Transit riders can get realtime information with the DoubleMap app.
Those wishing to know more about the specific policies and practices should contact their local transit agency directly:
Metrolink – metrolinktrains.com <http://metrolinktrains.com/>, 800.371.5465 or 800.698.4TDD
Omnitrans – omnitrans.org <http://omnitrans.org/>, 800.966.6428
Victor Valley Transit Authority – vvta.org <http://vvta.org/>, 760.948.3030
Mountain Transit – mountaintransit.org <http://mountaintransit.org/>, 909.878.5200
Morongo Basin Transit Authority – mbtabus.com <http://mbtabus.com/>, 800.794.6282
Needles Area Transit – cityofneedles.com/transit <http://cityofneedles.com/transit>, 760.326.5700