Innovative Safety Measures in Place at COTA
As a growing community, staying still is not in our nature. Even during a global pandemic, we each, in our own way, found ways to connect and move people and ideas forward. As people, companies and neighborhoods emerge into a different environment, safety for everyone rises to the top of mind. At COTA, safety of our employees and customers has always been our number one priority, and we are continuing our commitment by introducing innovative solutions to ensure your health and wellbeing aboard our vehicles. We have been here during the pandemic, serving those who needed us most and providing mobility options to frontline employees during stay-at-home orders; and when you are ready, we are here to serve you as your routines change.
COTA created the standard early in the pandemic for fleet sanitization, quickly ramping up resources to support travel needs. Each vehicle is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized nightly, and commonly-touched services are wiped every four hours. And, we are one of only a few transit authorities in the country now using the cutting-edge technology of Aegis long-lasting antimicrobial solution, making our transit vehicles inhospitable to harmful microbes. We are proud to offer our employees and customers this level of innovation used by leading companies in the trucking, door hardware and food storage industries.
While we are still temporarily operating as a no fare service with rear door boarding, to ensure social distancing between customers and operators, you will begin to see changes this summer as we evolve to meet the needs of a community coming together again, in-person. We will soon shift all customers to a cashless payment, Connector app and card, to ensure everyone has the same safe interactions with our service as they have come to expect from any modern company. For those of you already using Connector App or Card, you are all set! Meanwhile, we are working closely with our non-profit and human services partners to ensure everyone who needs access to mobility can continue to rely on us and have equitable access to safe mobility as well.
Our customers deserve a lot of credit for changing with us. We are now eight weeks into a mask requirement policy for those aboard our transit vehicles. We appreciate our customers committing to this policy, a CDC-recognized step to protecting one another. We will continue to require masks for now, and would like to thank the many organizations and individuals whom have made or donated more than 21,000 masks to provide to any of our customers in need. In March, we intentionally limited the number of customers allowed per vehicle to encourage social distancing. We will continue to limit large fixed-route vehicles to 20 customers, and smaller vehicles to two customers per vehicle (COTA PLUS On-Demand Service, Dynamic Service and ADA/Mainstream and Mainstream-On-Demand Service).
Meanwhile, as our community adjusts to changes in how we live, work, shop and interact, we understand our role to provide service in neighborhoods with evolving needs. We were proud to launch an emergency COTA//Plus zone in Northeast Franklin County to respond to mobility needs of workers returning to jobs in Easton, Gahanna, New Albany, and Westerville as our fixed route service changed. This rapid response approach will be common at COTA as we identify where our service is needed most by listening to you – the customer.
During this unprecedented time, we continue to focus on moving every life forward. With so many in need, COTA has found ways to connect people to resources through our valuable private and not-for-profit partnerships. Take a look at what COTA and Bob Evans accomplished over the Memorial Day weekend to serve the community.
We are here when you are ready. We are safe, and we will continue to serve you as you need us. As we adapt as a region, feel confident that COTA is innovating along with you, committed to protecting the health and safety of our customers and community.