- By Patty Poist
TCAT and paratransit provider Gadabout are taking precautions against the potential spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) while monitoring updates and heeding advice from health experts.
New York this week joined a growing list of states reporting cases of COVID-19, but to date none have been confirmed in Tompkins County. Additionally, Cornell University, whose community makes up the largest number of TCAT’s riders, has taken several proactive and preventative measures that include enacting stringent travel policies.
TCAT and Gadabout, both of whom operate out of the same facility at 737 Willow Ave., are adhering to COVID-19 guidelines set forth by numerous agencies. They include the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the New York Department of Health and the Tompkins County Health Department. TCAT is also following industry-specific guidelines from the Albany-based New York Public Transit Association and the Washington, D.C.-based American Public Transportation Association.
The following protocols starting today and to be in place by Mon., March 9, include:
- Bus Cleaning: TCAT recently procured a professional-grade germicidal electrostatic sprayer for bus handlers to disinfect bus interior surfaces every nightat the end of the day’s service period to include stanchions, handrails and seats. This extra step is in addition to their daily routine of cleaning and sanitizing all buses to include Gadabout’s fleet.
- Facility Cleaning: custodians ̶ everymorning before opening time ̶ will also use the electrostatic sprayer to sanitize surfaces inside Green Street Station, TCAT’s major hub and indoor passenger waiting area. Custodians will also take extra steps in sanitizing employee and public areas within the Willow Avenue facility.
- Hand Sanitizers:are to be available to riders on all buses and Green Street Station.
- Rider Guidelines:posters with CDC information with COVID-19 prevention and personal hygiene guidelines, such as hand washing and self-isolating in the event of illness, are to be placed in buses and at key shelters.
- Employee Guidelines: CDC guidelines, as listed above, along with other measures recommended by human resources experts, have been posted in all employee areas.
- Employee supplies: all employeesare being supplied with individual plastic bottles of hand sanitizers, as well as germicidal wipes with instructions on how to sanitize their personal space.
If and when additional information or updated guidelines becomes available, TCAT will revise printed and online information on its website at www.tcatbus.com
For Tompkins County information and frequently asked questions go to:http://tompkinscountyny.gov/health
For state information: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/
For CDC guidelines go to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html
As with any situation that could impact the ability to safely transport riders, TCAT is prepared to implement service reductions or make other operational changes if and when necessary. All TCAT public notifications are made through its traditional and social media channels as well as on the passenger notification section at the bottom left of its Bus Tracker athttps://realtimetcatbus.availtec.com/InfoPoint/ Gadabout will communicate with its passengers through its normal communication channels.