Our partners at News 4 Buffalo (WIVB-TV) are reporting this morning that the NFTA and Erie County Legislature Chair April Baskin have come to an agreement on changes for the protection of bus riders.

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Baskin had been in contact with the NFTA about increasing protections for riders during the coronavirus pandemic.

“There has been a great deal of talk in recent weeks about how essential workers are the new American heroes: the healthcare workers, retail clerks, and public employees who are on the frontlines while those of us who can, shelter at home,” Baskin said. “But the reality is most of these individuals are low-paid hourly employees who depend on public transportation to get to jobs where they risk their lives to enable the rest of us to remain healthy, protected and fed during this crisis. Not to mention the riders who travel for essential trips medical appointments, groceries and laundry.”

After discussions with NFTA staff, and Executive Director Kimberly Minkel, the NFTA agreed to make the following changes to buses:

  • Limit each bus to less than 15 passengers
  • Install signage on the interior to remind passengers about physical distancing guidelines and to encourage them to leave one seat between passengers
  • Implement additional bus service on the 19 Bailey route, which is a route that sees a significant amount of riders

Also being looked at is the possibility of plastic screens installed between seats, and hand sanitizer stations may be installed near passenger load areas.

The NFTA will provide an update on the implementation of these ideas next week.