CapMetro Joins Other Transit Agencies to Commit to Safe Return to Service

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is the national trade association for transit agencies. The group coordinates activities among a range of transit providers, offers education opportunities and provides resources on best practices.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, APTA has surveyed transit users asking what they’re looking for from providers. In response, the association has asked transit agencies and users to support a set of four commitments each.

These commitments show riders what we are doing to ensure their safety and it asks them to play their parts, as well.

For Our Agency:                                                         For Our Customers:

Follow policies and practices based on official guidance from public health experts and agencies.Help riders of diverse ages, needs and abilities to feel safe by following official guidance from public health experts and agencies, and transit agency rules.
Keep transit vehicles clean, disinfected and maintained daily using EPA-approved disinfectants and accepted industry practices.Ask riders to wear face coverings, use hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes, and minimize touching common surfaces wherever possible.
Communicate timely information about changes in service, and high-density routes and vehicles.Help riders practice physical distancing with other passengers and operators, and make informed choices based on timely information.
Require transit personnel to use face coverings and PPE, and to take leave at the sign of illness or possible exposure to the coronavirus.Request that passengers assess their own health before using transit and to avoid transit if ill or possibly exposed to the coronavirus.

“From the start, the Capital Metro family, using appropriate guidelines, has been laser focused on ways to protect our employees, service providers, customers and communities from the transmission and spread of COVID-19,” says CapMetro VP of Risk and Safety Gardner Tabon. “Our pledge to this international effort further demonstrates Capital Metro’s commitment to continue to keep transit a safe and practicable option.”

To learn more about CapMetro’s services, see our Return with CARE page.

CapMetro and the Pandemic: July Dashboard

Capital Metro has responded to the coronavirus pandemic with care and dedication to our community.

In the past five months, we’ve provided nearly six million essential trips, delivered more than 550,000 meals to those in need and provided Wi-Fi service in 10 different locations throughout the area.

Check out our July COVID-response Dashboard to see all that we’ve done since mid-March.

CapMetro & the Pandemic

COVID Response_JuneIn response to the pandemic, CapMetro has worked around the clock to serve the the Austin community and to promote public health. That’s included implementing several measures to ensure the safety of our staff and customers, providing more than 3.6 million trips since the start of quarantine and providing support for vulnerable community members in need.

Staff and Customer Safety

To keep our operating staff and the public safe, we provided staff with gloves, masks and hand sanitizer and required everyone to wear a mask when at CapMetro facilities or riding our services.

Providing Essential Service

  • CapMetro provided 3.6 million necessary trips to grocery stores and medical centers for people traveling to work an essential job.
  • We served 70,000 critical trips for MetroAccess customers.
  • Provided service to more than 250 homeless individuals.

We are so grateful for all of our frontline workers and staff who worked vigorously to serve our community and keep our services safe! We will continue putting the safety of our staff and customers first as we move ahead.

Meal Deliveries 

Our partnerships with H-E-B, Good Apple and Farmshare Austin provided nearly 475,000 meals to vulnerable members of the Austin community through June.

Doing our Part During the Pandemic

COVID ResponseIn response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CapMetro has worked around the clock to promote public health and help the Austin community. In the past two months we’ve implemented several measures to ensure the safety of our staff and customers while riding our vehicles, and we provided support for vulnerable community members in need.

To go the extra mile for safety we: 

  • Hired 50 part-time cleaners to clean and sanitize buses throughout the day.
  • Implemented temperature scans at the entrances to our buildings.
  • Provided face coverings for customers in need of one.
  • Adjusted our service schedule.
  • Enforced rear-door boarding to minimize contact between operators and customers.
  • Encouraged social distancing with “skip-a-seat” signs on our vehicles and sidewalk decals at bus stops and transit facilities.

Meal Deliveries 

We partnered with H-E-B, Good Apple and Farmshare Austin to provide 170,000+ meals to vulnerable members of the Austin community.

Staff Safety and Benefits 

To keep our operating staff safe we provided them with gloves, masks and hand sanitizer and we implemented a three-week supplemental leave in addition to paid time off. This applies to staff members who get sick themselves or for those who have family members who need to be taken care of.

Providing Essential Service

  • CapMetro provided 1.3 million necessary trips to grocery stores and medical centers for people traveling to work an essential job.
  • We served critical trips for MetroAccess customers.
  • Provided service to homeless individuals.

We are so grateful for all of our frontline workers and staff who worked vigorously to serve our community and keep our services safe! We will continue putting the safety of our staff and customers first as we move ahead.

 

Stay Well & Ride Safe

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CapMetro responded quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic and has implemented several measures to protect our staff and support the goal of maintaining public health. As the state begins to relax our stay-at-home restrictions, your actions are vital to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and maintain public safety on CapMetro vehicles. We’re asking customers to continue to act responsibly to protect themselves, their families and the community at large.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we need your help:

  • Wear a face covering: This is required for all customers riding CapMetro vehicles.
  • Maintain safe social distancing when waiting at a transit facility and boarding a vehicle.
  • Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds
  • Continue rear-door boarding.
  • Maintain safe social distancing when possible while riding CapMetro.
  • Stay home if you can.
  • If you feel sick, please stay home and do not use CapMetro services.

CapMetro strongly recommends you take these extra safety precautions to protect your health and the wellbeing of others. We’ll get through this, but we have to work together and do what we can to help others.

If you choose to ride CapMetro vehicles, please make sure you are considering what is best for the safety of you, your family and your community. Let’s practice these safety measures so we can all return to a more normal life soon.

 

CapMetro & the Shelter-in-Place Order

Shelter-in-Place

Even with today’s shelter in place emergency order from local authorities, CapMetro’s service remains an essential business and will continue to provide critical service for essential needs.

Adjusted Service Schedule

Designed to serve our community’s larger needs. We served 40%-60% fewer riders, which means people are doing what they need to: staying home.

“Skip a Seat” Signs

  • Give other customers some space while on the bus or train.
  • Board through the rear door to protect operators and other riders.
  • Those using wheelchairs and other mobility devices are allowed to still use the front door.
  • Please respect the fare system.

Enhanced Cleaning Procedures

Hired 50 part-time cleaners to help clean and sanitize the buses throughout the day. Some admin sta­ff will assist.

Safely Equipped Operators

CapMetro operators have hand sanitizer and gloves. We’re following Austin Public Health and the CDC on masks, but operators may wear them if they choose.

Supplemental Leave Policy

Ensures sta­ff members can take care of themselves and their loved ones and not worry about their employment status.

If you are sick, we ask you not to travel. If your travel isn’t essential, we ask that you follow the order and not ride Capital Metro.

CapMetro & COVID-19

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In response to the rapidly evolving situation involving COVID19, Capital Metro continues to implement measures designed to protect our staff, promote public health and ensure that we continue to provide service to all parts of our community.

These measures have included:

  • All bus operators are provided with a bottle of hand sanitizer and latex gloves. The agency is following guidance from Austin Public Health and the CDC with respect to masks. While operators are not being issued masks to wear while driving, they may do so if they choose.
  • We enhanced our cleaning operations more than two weeks ago, which included the daily sanitizing of all hand touch surfaces. We will soon increase those cleaning procedures even further, with disinfecting of vehicles taking place throughout the day. To help us achieve this, we’ve hired 50 part-time cleaners. No experience is needed, and training will be provided. Work will start as early as tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24.
  • Customers must board their bus through the rear door to protect the health and safety of our bus operators and customers. During this emergency situation, we trust that our customers will continue to respect the agency’s fare system.
  • We have placed “skip a seat” signs on all CapMetro vehicles to encourage customers to leave some space between each other and practice social distancing.
  • We have developed a new policy that would provide up to three weeks of supplemental sick leave for employees of CapMetro and our contractors. This would apply if the employee or a member of their household is affected by COVID-19.
  • We’re also starting a new CapMetro Family Care team, whose sole purpose is to be an additional resource to answer questions, provide comfort and find solutions for those who are impacted by this crisis.

CapMetro Implements Temporary Service Changes

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In response to the COVID-19 emergency, CapMetro services will operate a modified schedule, seven days a week beginning Wednesday, March 18.

Service Impacts

Capital Metro will implement changes to its service designed to protect employees, promote public health and ensure that we continue to provide service to all parts of our community.

Capital Metro services, including MetroBus, MetroRapid, MetroExpress and MetroRail will operate on a modified schedule.

You can read about those service changes at CapMetro.org/COVID19.

Customer/Employee Care & Safety

To further ensure customer and bus operator health and safety, we ask that customers board their bus through the rear door. We also ask that they respect the agency’s fare system during this emergency situation.

Capital Metro designed these new measures to improve social distancing for our employees and customers, while still providing necessary transit to critical services.

Prevention and Awareness

We are following guidance from Austin Public Health and continue to monitor the situation.

In addition to our daily cleaning procedures for all CapMetro vehicles and transit facilities, we are applying a disinfectant to common hand contact areas, such as poles and handrails, armrests, door handles and stop request buttons.

Later this week, we will install special signs encouraging social distancing on our vehicles.

Along with these efforts, we need your help:

  • Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Maintain good hygiene.
  • Limit your non-essential travel as much as possible, especially to locations with many people.
  • Limiting your contact with others is the best way to stay healthy.

If you think you might be getting sick, please stay home and contact your healthcare provider.

Visit Austin Public Health’s information page for up-to-date, detailed information: austintexas.gov/COVID19.

CapMetro Community Update

As a primary source of transportation for many in our community, CapMetro must address the COVID-19 situation while maintaining safe, critical transit services and a safe work environment.

PREVENTION & AWARENESS

  • We implemented enhanced daily cleaning procedures on March 2 for all CapMetro transit vehicles and facilities by applying a disinfectant to common hand contact areas such as poles and handrails, armrests, door handles and stop request buttons.
  • Safe hygiene messages developed by Austin Public Health were added to all CapMetro vehicles, and we’ve included these hygiene reminders at our bus and rail stop digital signs where available. CapMetro has also emphasized these messages on its social media channels.
  • While it is not logistically feasible to add hand sanitizers to hundreds of buses and thousands of stops, our customers and employees are encouraged to practice regular hand washing to reduce the risk of public spread.
  • We asked our customers to stay home if they are feeling sick and to follow guidelines from Austin Public Health.

RESPONSE MANAGEMENT

  • We activated an internal Coronavirus Task Force to provide around-the-clock assistance to the Capital Metro service area and can act swiftly should we be alerted to a case of coronavirus affecting our employees or service.
  • Our senior leadership team has met daily to prepare to address the evolving situation.
  • Additionally, we have been in discussion with transit industry leaders throughout Texas and nationally to ensure we are collaborating on best practices for monitoring the COVID-19 impact.
  • Capital Metro is working closely with Austin Public Health, and we are following its guidance on recent developments on COVID-19.

EMPLOYEE CARE & SAFETY

  • The health and safety of all personnel remains our primary concern. We continue to maintain safe, clean work environments.
  • All staff are being encouraged to stay home if sick.
  • CapMetro’s leadership team, management of contracted services and union leadership are working together to support any employee who needs to take sick time away from their duties or if we have to reduce service levels.
  • CapMetro has developed contingency plans for remote staffing and systems redundancy for operations and administrative functions as a part of our business continuity plan.

SERVICE IMPACTS

  • In coordination with The University of Texas, Capital Metro stopped running all UT Shuttle routes at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 13, and we will not run this service during Spring Break. We will continue to work with UT to adjust service based on campus activities.
  • CapMetro is in close coordination with centers that care for vulnerable populations. Therefore, MetroAccess clients who have questions specific to their service can review an informational question-and-answer update tailored to their needs at CapMetro.org/MetroAccess-FAQ

FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS

  • CapMetro will continue to analyze and modify its operations with guidance from Austin Public Health and the impact of personnel availability.
  • CapMetro has developed continuity of operations plans, and should there be a need to modify service or fare policies we will share these updates on our website, send to local media and publish to our MetroAlerts subscribers.


We thank you for your patience and support as we deliver critical transportation services for our community.

CapMetro Public Health Statement

generalalertCapital Metro is following guidance from Austin Public Health and continues to monitor the situation involving the corona virus and COVID-19. In addition to daily cleaning procedures of all CapMetro vehicles and transit facilities, we have begun applying a disinfectant to common hand contact areas such as poles and handrails, armrests, door handles and stop request buttons.

To help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including flu and COVID-19, please follow standard hygiene measures.