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HRT Commended for COVID Response

Hampton Roads Transit has received a commendation from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) for its work in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The citation from APTA’s Health and Safety Commitments Program reflects HRT’s work in following the recommended practices of public health experts encouraging the public to wear masks, wash their hands frequently, and maintain appropriate social distances.

“It’s encouraging to receive confirmation that our efforts to slow the spread of the virus is recognized by APTA. We will continue to do everything we can to help the region beat this pandemic and protect the safety of our customers and employees. With the recent uptick in infections, these efforts continue to be a priority.”
— William Harrell, HRT’s President and CEO

A key component of the Health and Safety Commitments Program is the shared responsibility of our system and the riders to follow the guidelines. Riders rely on HRT to follow these commitments, and HRT in turn relies on riders to protect themselves and other customers.

As soon as the pandemic began to take hold in the region, HRT implemented a series of safety steps to protect its employees and customers by requiring them to wear masks and encouraging social distancing by blocking off seats in buses and trains.

Administrative employees could stagger the days they would report to work – thus limiting the contact they had with one another – while the agency also took steps to increase the bandwidth it uses to allow for an increase in video conferencing from home.

HRT also contracted with cleaning companies to use electrostatic equipment spraying a sanitizing solution on all surfaces that employees or customers might touch, including desktops, public service counters and handrails.

For a while, the agency also suspended the collection of fares on its fleet of buses to allow customers to board and alight from the rear of the vehicle, thereby lessening the chance of an unhealthy encounter between an operator and a customer. The agency also sharply reduced the frequency of trips in response to sharply reduced demand brought on by a slowing economy.

As soon as it was able, HRT provided personal protective equipment to all employees. While HRT has resumed collecting fares and restored full service, all other safety programs remain in effect.

The APTA commendation was signed by Nuria I. Fernandez, APTA chair and the General Manager and CEO of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, Philip A. Washington, mobility recovery and restoration Task Force Chair and the CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and Paul P. Skoutelas, President and CEO of APTA.

The health and safety of passengers and operators is the most important priority for HRT. Since the beginning of the pandemic, HRT has worked tirelessly to keep riders safe from the coronavirus on public transit. By signing on to the program, HRT wanted customers to know that it is committed to protecting their health and safety.

The learn more about APTA, visit their website