Long Beach Transit looks to establish a core sense of health and safety while providing public transportation during a global pandemic; they offer a vital service for people with essential careers. Long Beach Transportation (LBT) understands their transit operators and customers rely on buses to get to their destination; everyone needs to feel secure in a time of social distancing. CEO of LBT Kenneth McDonald highlighted the measure of safety and made the health and well-being of the community a daily mission. McDonald shared that the safety protocols implemented look to reassure that daily protection is en route.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed social practices for the communities riding public transportation. There are guidelines for both the passenger and transit operator to ride with safety in mind. According to their website, the CDC advised extreme precaution during these times; the CDC recommends to limit touching any frequently used surfaces and to carry hand sanitizer containing 60 percent rubbing alcohol. They also urge to stay six feet apart from anyone as much as possible.
This national public health institute made note of travel time and suggested that people consider traveling during “non-peak” hours,when there is less of a possibility for large crowds. The CDC also advised the community to look for the social distancing instructions or physical guidelines outlined by the public transit station. A repetitive remark on the personal safety protocol found on the CDC website is handwashing; they recommend washing before and after a ride.
The LBT has aligned their safety goals with the updated information provided by the State orders related to COVID-19. According to the LBT website, the health and safety of their employees and customers is their top priority. As more information comes to light about COVID-19, the LBT keeps their staff and passengers informed with the latest specifications that their facilities look to implement.
With growing awareness around cleanliness and sanitation, the routine cleaning and inspection of LBT public facilities has been updated to include disinfectants that are effective against COVID-19. There is an added focus on surfaces that are touched more frequently, which includes: Buses, door handles, restrooms, meeting and conference rooms, and other common staff areas.
There have been enhancements to their scheduled inspection, dating before the outbreak took hold of the city on February 3; LBT added more hand sanitizer dispensers and supplied individual disinfectant products to their transit operators.
Keeping the Safer at Home Order in mind, LBT modified their schedule to run parallel to essential transit services, in order to support social distancing whenever it is feasible for busses to do so.
Public transportation is one of the city’s infrastructures that maintain the balance of Los Angeles, if this is not handled properly, it could break the chain holding major parts of the economy together. That is why McDonald is motivated to make that daily ride into work feel safe, because he understands the condition of the bus is holding the energy for someone’s workday.
The pandemic has brought new awareness around the well-being of the community. LBT recognizes the essential workers that use the bus as their main way of transportation are at risk; families need to feel protected while on board the LBT Buses. McDonald has made it a personal mission to convey the highest level of safety for all Angelenos every day. In addition to updated inspections, the bus fare is also waived for all passengers.
The CDC also provided guidelines for the staff of public transportation as well. Public transit facilities are recommended to adhere to a COVID-19 workplace safety plan to ensure the protection of passengers and transit operators. LBT confirms they are aligned with the CDC Interim Guidance for Business and Employees.
With the defenses against COVID-19 constantly being updated, the CDC suggests an on-site coordinator handling the assessment and control of the virus. They would be responsible for developing plans for employees, utility, and janitorial staff. The guidelines look to communicate coronavirus concerns and how to operate if a breakout should occur. LBT worked on a basis of self-reporting; transit operators were held accountable to identify any risk and report it to their transit ambassador or direct leadership.
LBT wanted to create a space where people feel secure in their daily routine of being mobile. A lot has changed since the COVID-19 outbreak, but LBT adjusted quickly to maintain order in a time of uncertainty.
Los Angeles relies heavily on public transportation; for many Angelenos, it is their only way to work. The transit operators, and all LBT staff, continue to hold up a very big part of the city’s infrastructure. COVID-19 has provided an opportunity to see unity at work throughout Los Angeles. LBT holds themselves accountable to be united in the fight against coronavirus.
It is strongly advised to use precaution while using public transportation; LBT looks to assist with the safety measures of that journey. Their guidelines follow the latest data and sciences that study the dangers of COVID-19, and they offer masks for those who do not have one before boarding the bus. With Transit ambassadors also available directly on the ride, LBT provides a proactive approach to preserving the health for everyone who shares the common space on the bus.
The bottom line is that people need to get to their destination with peace of mind. LBT set goals of only having 12-15 riders per bus, in order to increase the opportunity of social distancing. In addition to self-reporting, LBT provides routine COVID-19 testing for their staff to make sure they are not the cause of transmission.
McDonald closed with the following statement, “I want to encourage everyone that gets in our system to be safe and to wear a mask.” He reiterated what scientists have said throughout this pandemic that wearing a mask works, and it’s one of the best preventative ways to stop the spread of the virus.
McDonald continued, “We are doing everything that we can to make sure our vehicles are clean and kept safe for our customers.” He went into detail on what motivates him every day is understanding public transit from the customers perspective. McDonald said, “After we do what we have to do internally to make sure customers are getting the best service, each day, that is what I focus on. What motivates me to want to do more is how are we making everyday life better.”