NORTHRIDGE, CA – Metro transportation has not stopped operations during the pandemic. So, to keep passengers and bus drivers safe they have made a couple of changes involving sanitation and cleaning.
Now bus drivers or cleaning experts go in after each route ends to clean and sterilize buses. Metro spokesperson, Rick Jager says “we go in there and disinfect all the high touch point areas, the hand rails the seating.”
To follow CDC guidelines, Metro has changed a few things during their operations. For example, passengers are to board the bus from the rear door in order not to have contact with the bus driver. Passengers are told to keep six feet apart. They must wear a face mas and they should stay to the back part of the bus. Similar rules apply for trains, where now only one monorail is being offered per trip.
After March of 2020 when California went into quarantined, Metro transportation started making changes in the way they operated. The company knew that most of their passengers were using public transportation to do essential things like going to work, to the market, or the doctor.
Early in the quarantine Metro let passengers ride for free. This went on until a few weeks ago. Metro is now asking bus passengers to pay the full fare. For the train operation it is being asked for passengers to pay the fare price in full.
Before the pandemic Metro carried about 1.2 million passengers a day. Now they carry about 567,000 passengers daily. Most of them are essential workers.
Omar Zavaleta an essential worker, has been riding the bus and train every day for as long as he can remember, he says. The Metro operations are Zavaleta’s way of getting around. He uses the bus and train to go to work or to run his errands. He believes the reason he continues to ride both the train and the bus during the pandemic is because people are obeying COVID-19 protocols. “I do feel safe because everybody wears a mask” says Zavaleta.
Just like Zavaleta bus driver Nelson Bonilla, also known as number 75850, believes bus drivers are essential workers. “I believe we are, without us there is no bus service.”
Metro is now trying to get state leaders to try get bus drivers high up on the list to get vaccination shots.
Video, Estephany Garcia
By Estephany Garcia
Photo, Estephany Garcia
Video, Estephany Garcia