MTA New York City Transit, Transport Workers Union and Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) today announced a new rear-door boarding policy on all buses, beginning on Monday, March 23. The new policy is the latest action taken by NYC Transit, TWU and ATU to protect frontline employees from the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Customers will board and exit all local and Select Bus Service (SBS) buses using the rear doors. Express bus customers will board as normal, but will not be permitted to sit in the first three rows of the bus to ensure customers are a safe social distance from bus operators. ADA customers will still be permitted to board at the front of all local and SBS buses, and board as usual on express buses. Regular fare policy remains in effect wherever on-board payment boxes or SBS off-board ticket machines continue to be accessible.
“While Governor Cuomo has ordered non-essential workers beginning Sunday night to remain in their homes and not take mass transit, we are taking aggressive action to protect our thousands of frontline employees who are delivering a critical service to New York, moving the healthcare workers, first responders, utility workers, and essential employees who are protecting us from this public health crisis,” said MTA Chairman and CEO, Pat Foye. “Transit workers are the lifeblood of this city and region and we are going to do everything we can to protect their health and safety.”
“I want to thank the 51,000 men and women of New York City Transit who are on the frontlines of this crisis and saving lives by keeping this city moving,” saidInterim President of NYC Transit, Sarah Feinberg. “Rear-door boarding will help ensure a safe social distance. The safety of our employees and customers is priority one.”
“We know we are essential workers providing an essential service during this national emergency – but we also need to be protected to the greatest extent possible,” said President of TWU Local 100, Tony Utano. “This is the right move. It will better protect our Bus Operators, give them some peace of mind, and demonstrate that their concerns have been heard.”
“We thank our members for continuing to work in these trying times and appreciate the MTA for listening to bus operators and taking effective action,” said President and Business Agent, ATU Local 726, Daniel Cassella. “We also recognize maintenance workers for their rigorous daily disinfecting of the buses. Hopefully the public will listen to the governor and travel only when essential.”
“I applaud our entire membership of ATU Local 1056 for the tireless work they do every day. This coalition of unions acknowledges the MTA for recognizing their concerns by acting on this initiative,” said President and Business Agent, ATU Local 1056, Mark Henry. “Rear doors access is necessary given the way our state, our city and our nation are dealing with coronavirus. We pray for all residents as the health risks are great and unknown; together we will overcome the challenges before us.”