New COVID-19 Safety Regulations for Transit

On Friday January 29, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued a mandate requiring face masks be worn on all forms of public transit and in transit facilities.

Effective February 1, CapMetro customers are to wear face masks while on transit vehicles and when at our facilities. The face masks must cover your nose and mouth and attach around the ears.

While CapMetro has required face coverings since April 2020, we have updated our guidelines to reflect the federal regulations. For this reason, bandanas and other single-ply fabric coverings do not meet this new requirement and will be prohibited.

At this time, Austin is still under Stage 5 restrictions and we ask that you limit travel to essential trips. Stay up-to-date on CapMetro’s COVID-19 response and guidelines here.

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.

Be Patient and Stay Safe: Vehicle and Pedestrian Rail Safety 

Did you know that, according to the National Highway Traffic Administration, a person or vehicle is struck by a train at a highway rail grade crossing every four hours? Trains can’t stop quickly. A freight train that is traveling 55 miles per hour can take more than a mile to stop, even if an emergency application of the brakes is applied.

 

In 2019, Texas ranked as the state with the most collisions in the U.S. with a total of 251 highway-rail grade crossing collisions. As a result, 31 people lost their lives and 123 were injured. Never try to beat a train! Follow these tips to stay safe and help us reduce the number of incidents at rail crossings:

  • Stop if you see flashing red lights
  • Only cross at a highway-rail grade crossing
  • Only cross if gate arms are up, lights have stopped flashing and bells have stopped ringing

In 2019, the state of Texas also ranked as the state with the second highest pedestrian rail trespassing casualties with a total of 100, out of which 44 lost their lives and 56 resulted in  injuries. If you are walking near a train, remember:

  • Only cross at a designated public crossing. Crossing at any other place is trespassing, illegal and dangerous
  • Never walk around or behind lowered gates at a crossing
  • Only cross if gate arms are up, lights have stopped flashing and bells have stopped ringing
  • Look both ways before crossing tracks

Don’t become part of the statistics. Follow these tips and help us reduce the number of highway-rail grade crossing collisions and trespassing casualties. Remember, be patient and stay safe!

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.