by Lily Lowder
May 6, 2020 (Updated on May 18, 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.
When using any type of transportation, follow these public health guidelines:
- Before leaving and after arriving, wash your hands with soap and water. If soap is not available, use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Keep at least six feet of distance between yourself and other people.
- Wear a cloth face covering.
- If you feel ill, stay home.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides additional guidance for transportation users, including those with transportation-related jobs.
If you’re using your personal bike, remember to regularly disinfect high-contact areas such as the handlebars, lock, gears, braking handles, etc. If you’re using bike or scooter share, San Antonio B-Cycle and other vendors are regularly cleaning bikes and scooters. However, to be vigilant, you may consider disinfecting rentals 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.
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 must wear a cloth face mask.
To reduce the risk of spreading the virus, you should only carpool with members of your immediate household. If you need to form a new carpool, consider the following:
- Every day, before entering the carpool, all passengers should have their temperature taken.
- Passengers should not join the carpool if they have been potentially exposed to the virus or are feeling ill.
- Limit the number of passengers to 2-3 per vehicle.
- Improve ventilation by opening the car windows.
You can use the Alamo Commutes app or website to speak with a potential carpool match before meeting in person.
VIA Metropolitan Transit is continuing to exercise precautions to keep passengers and drivers safe, including disinfecting buses regularly and requiring face coverings. However, you can still exercise safe riding behaviors.
- 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. Take advantage of contactless payment by purchasing your fare using the VIA GoMobile app.
- 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.
VIA is providing regular updates to new safety requirements and service changes on their website.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.