On March 16, 2020, Contra Costa County issued a Shelter in Place (SIP) Order. Since then, County Connection has continuously adjusted service in response to the needs of essential services and their workers. These efforts require significant coordination and time in order to implement an effective service profile that meets various demands. The 600 series, which is County Connection’s service to schools, was halted with the issuance of the SIP order last March. Since then, many schools districts have adopted hybrid schedules with little to no communication with the County Connection. Thus far, County Connection has not received any definitive information on actual start dates for schools typically served by our 600 series.
In order for County Connection to effectively plan for the potential re-introduction of our 600 series routes we require the following information:
- School Schedules – days of the week schools are open/bell-times
- Academic Calendars- including early-outs/late-in’s and holidays
- Additional information regarding your process of re-entering the classroom that may have an impact on student transportation (i.e. blended hybrid learning model, percentage of student body allowed on campus and potential distance learning days)
Federal Regulations prohibit public transit operators from operating exclusive “school bus” type service. This means that all service provided to and for students must not only be available to the general public but must be published in our printed schedules. If we do not comply with these regulations, we are in danger of being sanctioned by the FTA, up to and including loss of funding. This process generally requires two months to develop, publish and disseminate appropriate public schedules as well as create the necessary work assignments.
For the remainder of the 2021 school year County Connection must maintain a six-foot physical distance protocol on all buses. This means we can only allow 10 to 12 individuals on a bus as opposed to the typical 50 to 60 passengers a 600 series route carries. It would take five times as many buses and at least 30 additional operators to move the pre-COVID student demand with the new physical distancing protocols.
As we look forward to this coming Fall, we will be working with the county to enhance our vehicle load capacity with the goal of meeting the expected student demand for the 2022 school calendar year. For additional information regarding County Connection’s response to COVID-19 and protocols please refer to the following link at: https://countyconnection.com/covid19/
Despite our limitation with providing the 600 series service, we continue to operate regular service within close proximity to many schools in our service area. We encourage everyone to visit our maps and schedule page for more information on existing service. Our customer service staff is available to assist with trip planning and/or answer any other questions regarding our service. For inquiries, please call 925-676-7500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.