Protecting Our Passengers
As an essential service, County Connection has a strong commitment to the well-being of all our passengers and employees. It takes a collaborative effort to ensure a safe environment and the Authority recognizes the importance of communication at all levels to achieve this.
Cleaning & Sanitation
Prior to COVID-19, County Connection has maintained a notable reputation in the maintenance of its fleet. In conjunction with standard cleaning procedures, the Authority has been utilizing for nearly two years, an anti-viral fogging system to sanitize each bus at a minimum of twice per month and following incidents where a passenger became ill. As COVID-19 became prevalent, staff has increased the use of the fogging system to sanitize each coach at a minimum of once per day as they are returned to the yard. All high-touch surface areas are wiped down every evening, including the Operator’s work area (seat, steering wheel, buttons, controls, and dash). In addition, Transit Operators are given sanitizing wipes to periodically wipe down their work areas as necessary.
All fixed-route buses are equipped with a fresh air uptake for the safety of passengers and Operators. This is the process of injecting fresh outside air into the onboard HVAC system and onboard air being redirected outside. At this time, County Connection has increased the fresh air uptake from 25% to 35%, which is the maximum rate possible. This maximum rate completely replaces the air on a bus every 1.5 to 2 minutes. For perspective, according to Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS), hospital intensive care units (ICUs) replace the air every 5 to 6 minutes.
In addition to the clean air uptake, County Connection has also ensured the proper management of air filtration. All buses have been upgraded to a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) 7 filter to clean the air. Staff continues to research filtration technology to find filter media with a higher MERV rating that does not restrict airflow.
Physical Modifications to Our Vehicles
In late March, County Connection temporarily suspended fare collection on all routes, including paratransit. Plexiglass shields were also installed on all fixed-route buses, covering the Operator’s work area. This was done in an effort to minimize the interaction between passengers and Operators. In addition, all buses were retrofitted, requiring all ambulatory passengers to board at the rear of the bus. Signage is posted throughout all buses reminding passengers of requirements such as face coverings and physical distancing. Alerts are also provided through Interactive Voice Response (IVR) advising additional hygiene precautions.
Since March, health officials at the state and local levels have updated guidance for various activities. Face coverings are now required at all bus stops and on all public transit. Additionally, County Connection staff have worked with Contra Costa health officials to ensure the safety and well-being of Operators and the public. As Contra Costa’s COVID-19 indicators improve, various restrictions are being lifted, which are subject to change.
Starting November 1st, County Connection will resume fare collection and front door boarding. The plexiglass shields on all fixed route vehicles and the face covering requirement provide the preventative measures required to allow fare collection to resume. County Connection will continue to evaluate all preventative measures and adjust accordingly.