The Ohio Public Transit Association (OPTA) has released guidelines and best practices for public transit and human service (“PT/HS”) transportation agencies in response to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The guidelines interpret and apply federal and state-issued best practices within the constraints and environmental realities of public transit and human service transportation.
“These recommendations specifically address the unique challenges faced by public transportation providers and state-funded human service transportation agencies,” said OPTA President Claudia Amrhein. “In developing the COVID-19 guidelines, we recognize the necessity to remain responsive to the needs of specific communities while also adapting to the fluid conditions presented by COVID-19.”
The guidelines aim to protect and preserve the health and safety of public transportation workers and riders by outlining best practices for vehicle operators, passengers, vehicle sanitation and facility sanitation amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “All Ohioans can rest assured that public transit and human service transportation continues to be a safe way to travel because of the exacting measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Amrhein said.
Citations to federal and state resources are referenced throughout the document. However, the guidance is not intended to be comprehensive for all agencies as implementation depends on an agency’s size, modes of operation, geography, and available resources.
“We recognize that practices may vary from agency to agency based on a number of factors including local health and safety orders as well as policies enacted by an organization’s governing board,” said OPTA Director Matt Carle. “What this document does is provide a framework for a common understanding of how public transit and human service transportation providers can adapt.”
Representatives from public transit organizations around the state representing both urban and rural providers developed the guidelines. OPTA has requested the support of the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Transportation in distributing and updating the guidelines, as necessary.
OPTA is the primary advocate for public transportation in Ohio. The association provides leadership, resources, training, support, technical assistance, media outreach, public engagement, and governmental relations services to public and private transit agencies and businesses across the state.