Frequently Asked Questions About Employee and Rider COVID-19 Safety
As RTD upholds its core value of safety, it is especially important during these difficult times that we focus on keeping our passengers and employees safe and healthy. We provide a vital service and are a lifeline to many people in the community, and it is crucial that we continue operating for the public that relies on us. The situation changes daily, and we are in close contact and cooperation with state, regional and local authorities about best practices, safe operations and communication with the public.
Why are you still sending vehicles and people around the metro area during the crisis?
Public transit remains a vital lifeline for thousands of metro riders, including essential workers in health care, public safety, food production and distribution, utilities, government operations and more. While we will be cutting back service on April 19 in response to lower demand, we believe and our government partners agree that continuing service is a crucial support for the entire region.
Have any RTD operators or employees who come into contact with the public tested positive to date?
We have had no positive tests for COVID-19 among our employees. As the number of cases rises throughout the metro area, that fact could change. If it does, we will keep the public informed.
Are you sanitizing buses and trains in a different way?
Yes: All vehicles are being cleaned every day in accordance with public health recommendations from the CDC and state and local public health providers. We have redirected our cleaning crews to prioritize wiping down surfaces, hand railings, hand grips and common areas. While people may see some trash on the floor of their bus or train, that doesn’t mean it isn’t being disinfected every day. Our cleaning crews are doing their best to do an overall cleaning, but as directed, they are making wiping down surfaces with disinfectant their top priority.
Does RTD have a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), including sanitizer?
Sanitizer has been the hardest item to keep in stock and we are currently at a shortage, as are most public agencies in the metro area. Even more important than sanitizer is the instruction for all employees and riders to wash their hands frequently with regular soap and clean, running water, and to avoid touching their face in between. We have adequate cleaning materials in stock, and much more on order.
Have you considered eliminating fares and allowing rear-door entry by passengers to protect both operators and riders from unnecessary contact during the crisis?
We are studying whether rear-door entry is possible, given the need to continue collecting fares and, in some cases, assisting passengers with disabilities. These thoughts were raised by multiple people at a recent Board meeting and are being considered by staff.
What kind of supplies does RTD have to keep employees and riders safe?
RTD operations and maintenance staff are working hard to keep daily operations and workspaces as safe as possible for everyone. We have an extensive stock of nitrile sanitary gloves on hand, and more on order. N95 masks are at a premium for everyone, including acute care health facilities, and we have ordered backup supplies, but we are asking those employees who have them to sanitize and re-use their existing masks. While some sanitizing chemicals are in shorter supply, we have adequate stocks of disinfecting cleaners and bleach, and have ordered more with delivery expected in April. We continue to source any alternative supplies of the most in-demand sanitary items, but are limited by the reality of the marketplace created by COVID-19. New federal recovery funds approved by Congress do include funding for extraordinary cleaning tactics and supplies.