Linn County LIFTS announced today that it has joined the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) “Health and Safety Commitments Program,” 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.
The health and safety of passengers and operators is the most important priority for LIFTS. Since the beginning of the pandemic, LIFTS has worked tirelessly to keep riders safe from infection from the coronavirus. By signing on to the APTA Health and Safety Commitments Program with more than 100 public transit systems, LIFTS 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, 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
LIFTS has pledged to meet these commitments by creating specific policies that are effective for our system, our riders, and our community. A key component of the Health and Safety Commitments Program is the shared responsibility of our system and our riders to follow the guidelines. Riders rely on us to follow these commitments, and LIFTS relies on riders to protect themselves and other customers.
"Since the onset of the pandemic, LIFTS has worked continuously to keep riders and staff safe from the virus,” said agency director Tom Hardecopf. "By joining the APTA Health and Safety Commitments Program, LIFTS and the entire public transit industry are working to increase confidence in riders that we’re committed to protecting their health and safety.”
"Our efforts have proven extremely effective. We intend to continue our commitment to keeping our employees and bus riders safe," said Hardecopf.
LIFTS is committed to continually addressing and implementing pillars of the Program. Current efforts include:
- Face coverings/masks for riders and drivers
- Plexiglass driver barriers on all vehicles
- Frequent bus cleaning and disinfecting
- Practical social distancing
- Increased ventilation of buses and facilities
- Sanitizing materials on all buses
- Sanitizing stations at LIFTS facility
- Daily facility cleaning and disinfecting
“This program is a commitment that this industry is making to all those we serve now and to those who we look forward to serving,” said Nuria I. Fernandez, APTA Chair, and General Manager and CEO of Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. “Public transportation is and will be vital to the social and economic recovery of our nation. But getting there requires us to win back our ridership and encourage new riders to view public transit as a preferred mobility choice. We believe this commitment program will help do this.”
“The program being launched today is the public transportation industry’s pledge to promote sensible policies and practices designed to keep transit users and transit employees safe during the COVID-19 crisis,” said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas. “It is a logical extension of the innovation and commitment we have been demonstrating for the past several months – and it makes the need for at least $32 billion in additional emergency funding that much more urgent and critical.”