As frontline transit employees work to keep trains and buses running for essential trips, additional protections are being implemented to keep Metro’s workforce safe during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Starting, Monday, March 30, Metrorail passengers will no longer be able to board the front or rear cars of the train to create an additional buffer between the train operator’s compartment and the general public.
When a train arrives at the station, the doors of the first and last railcars will remain closed when the doors on the remaining six cars open. Metrorail customers will only be permitted to occupy the train’s “middle” (second through seventh) cars.Despite the fact that rail ridership is down about 93 percent, Metro will continue to operate all 8-car trains—the longest possible length—to allow plenty of room for safe social distancing in the remaining six cars.
Since activating Metro’s Pandemic Task Force in late January, Metro has ramped up its response to the growing pandemic. Now in Phase 3, the highest level of response, Metro is operating at reduced capacity to provide essential trips only, a position that helps reduce the risk of exposure to employees on the job.
Buses, trains and MetroAccess vehicles are cleaned and disinfected daily and last week an additional 17 stations were closed, bringing the total to 19 stations, in an effort to conserve critical cleaning supplies and reduce the number of employees needed on any given shift.
Metro has also implemented mandatory telework for administrative employees, allowed station managers to forgo certain duties outside the kiosk to avoid close contact with others, and strengthened protection for Metrobus operators by implementing rear-door boarding systemwide and temporarily suspending bus fares.
Metro is making every effort to keep buses and trains running as a lifeline for many health care workers, first responders and workers in other essential businesses who must get to and from work.
-via Press Release