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Commuting Safely After the Economy Reopens
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by Lily Lowder
May 6, 2020

As part of the first phase of reopening the Texas economy, certain businesses, including retail stores, movie theatres and restaurants, can reopen to customers. Starting May 1, many employees are being called back to work. A portion of the workforce will undoubtedly be using public transit, carpool, walking and biking to get to work – by choice or by circumstance. Here are some recommendations on how to commute safely as the pandemic continues.


Active Transportation

If you’re using your personal bike, remember to regularly disinfect the handlebars and other areas that are frequently held. If you’re using bike share, San Antonio B-Cycle is regularly cleaning bikes. However, to be vigilant, you may consider disinfecting rented bikes as well. Use hand sanitizer after using the mobile kiosk for check-out – or, better yet, use the app or key fob to minimize interaction with public surfaces.

Active Transportation Planner, Joey Pawlik, enjoying an afternoon bike ride with a face mask.
AAMPO’s Joey Pawlik enjoys a bike ride with a face mask.

Cyclists can also participate in fun Bike Month activities through May. For more information visit the MPO’s Bike Month website.

If you’re walking, do your best to avoid touching high-touch surfaces, such as door knobs and pedestrian push-buttons. If you do have to touch frequently used surfaces, avoid touching your phone and face. If you do, disinfect your phone when you reach your destination. Make sure that you wash your hands after your walk.

Whether you’re biking or walking, be sure to practice safe social distancing. Stay at least six feet away from other people, including if you’re riding in a group. If you cannot distance safely, then you are required to wear a cloth face mask.

Carpool

We do not recommend arranging a new carpool group at this time. To reduce the risk of spreading the virus, you should only carpool with members of your immediate household. Additionally, Uber and Lyft have ended the carpool option at this time.

When it’s safe, you can use the Alamo Commutes app or website to speak with a potential carpool match before meeting in person.

Public Transit

VIA Metropolitan Transit is continuing to exercise precautions to keep passengers and drivers safe, including disinfecting buses regularly and continuing through May 17 fare-free travel to minimize contact with fare machines and discourage passenger crowding on entry. However, you can still exercise safe riding behaviors.

A VIA operator disinfecting the bus.
A VIA operator disinfecting the bus.
  • You should only be using public transit for essential trips. If you feel sick, stay home and call your healthcare provider.
  • Sit or stand at least six feet apart from other passengers on the bus and at the bus stop.
  • Wash your hands after getting off the bus. If you can’t immediately wash your hands, use hand sanitizer.
  • Try to avoid touching shared surfaces such as hand rails or seat backs.
  • If you can, shift your travel time from peak periods when the bus is busier.
  • All passengers over the age of 10 are required to wear a cloth face mask.

Telework

If you can work from home, you should continue to do so – for the benefit of public health and public safety, as well as reduced traffic congestion and improved air quality. Alamo Commutes has also provided perks for teleworkers through the Paws Your Commute Challenge; record at least one telecommute in May and you’ll be entered to win a $50 gift card. If users record at least 2,000 telecommutes, Alamo Commutes (through its partner, Agile Mile) will donate $1,000 to the San Antonio Food Bank.

For more tips on working from home, check out our other blog posts and commuter tips.


If you would like to learn more about the Alamo Commutes program, please contact Lily Lowder at lowder@alamoareampo.org.