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San Diego MTS steps up efforts to keep riders, workers safe

Posted at 11:53 AM, Jul 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-22 14:53:43-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The Metropolitan Transit System has launched an initiative to keep their buses and trolleys clean and their riders and employees safe.

MTS officials said their ridership has dropped 75 percent since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, with officials are seeing a recent uptick in riders, the agency is implementing new health and safety measures.

Nikki Jefferson has relied on the trolley to get to work for the last three years. When the cases of COVID-19 started popping up around San Diego County, she was nervous about getting back on board.

“I still use hand sanitizer after my last stop, anytime I touch the button,” Jefferson said.

To help control the spread of COVID-19, the MTS is now cleaning their 800 buses and 135 trolley cars twice a day. MTS is even using the deep-cleaning fogging technique to disinfect high-touch areas.

Additionally, hand-washing stations are installed at their 54 transit stops and plexiglass barriers protect bus drivers from passengers.

When on a bus or trolley, passengers are urged to practice social distancing whenever possible.

Officials said all riders on buses or trolleys, and riders at stops or stations, will be required to wear face masks or coverings.

MTS CEO Sharon Cooney said, “We’re going to educate all of our customers so that they know you can’t come on board without as mask for some kind of face covering.”

It’s a move Jefferson agrees with as she spends most of her time riding the trolley.

“It makes me feel safer and less of a chance that I’m going to catch COVID-19, since I have to go to work, but I don’t want to bring it to work with me or have it around me,” said Jefferson.

MTS officials said they will educate the public about the face coverings. Some staff will also have face coverings on hand. But they add if someone refuses to wear one, they’ll look into issuing a citation.

So far, 33 MTS employees have tested positive for the coronavirus; 22 have recovered and have returned to work.