10 Tips for Riding COAST Safely During the Pandemic
DOVER – If you have not ridden public transit and COAST since the beginning of the pandemic, a lot has changed since the beginning of March.
At COAST, they are sanitizing and sterilizing buses throughout the service day to make sure their buses are safe to ride.
COAST has also treated all of their vehicles that are used in curb-to-curb transportation for older adults and individuals with disabilities with an EPA registered water-based antimicrobial nanocoating solution that provides persistent and continuous protection against microbes (bacterias, molds and viruses). For passengers, until there is an effective treatment or vaccine, here are some recommended steps for a safer and more enjoyable trip on public transit. Some are now seen as common sense; others are specific to public transit and common courtesy:
1. Stay at home if you are not feeling well. If you are sick or experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, you should stay at home. Do not touch your face, and cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow – not into the air or your open hand. Contain your microdroplets from your nose and mouth as much as possible.
2. Talk less and quietly onboard public transit. You release microdroplets whenever you speak, especially when you talk loudly and yell.
3. Wear a face mask or covering. As recommended by public health officials, you are urged to wear a face mask or covering while making a trip on public transit. This protects both yourself and others from potential coronavirus-carrying microdroplets, and they are an added tool given that adequate physical distancing may not always be possible, especially when ridership begins to increase.
4. Use available hand sanitizer when you board the bus. Spray a small amount of hand sanitizer on your hands at the time of boarding (available at the bus entrances) so that when you move back into the seating area, anything you touch is being touched by your just sanitized hands.
5. If you can, avoid the most heavily traveled times and travel when there are less people. Yes, there remain times when the buses are more crowded. These times will vary by bus route.
6. Be patient, respect other passengers and drivers, and pay your fare. We are all in this together. Be considerate; treat others like how you would like to be treated.
7. Minimize your conversations with the bus operators and please keep your distance. While the bus operators are always happy to help answer questions, they are using temporary curtains to protect them at bus stops. Please move through this area as quickly as possible and limit questions for now. If you need to ask a question, please do so from behind the “stand behind line”.
8. Let other passengers exit the vehicle first. Let passengers get off from the vehicle first before boarding. Also give them adequate space to deboard and clear before you move to step aboard.
9. Avoid making seating buddies unless you are riding together as a group; give extra space. Although physical distancing will not always be possible, spread out as much as possible when on the buses.
10. Limit your touching of your face mask or covering. It helps reduce the potential spread of the coronavirus from your hands to other surfaces.
COAST Executive Director, Rad Nichols, commented, “We are doing our part to make our buses safe to ride and we are operating to meet our many passenger’s daily transportation needs. Throughout this pandemic our staff have shown an incredible commitment to our mission to champion and provide customer-focused public transportation with a commitment to excellence in safety and service.”
Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation (COAST) has provided public transit service to the Seacoast New Hampshire region since 1982. COAST is a non-profit agency, operating a regional public transit system that relies primarily on federal and local government support to operate. COAST is governed by a board of directors representing the communities served, two regional planning commissions, and many local and state agencies. COAST’s vision is to be an innovative leader in providing a broad range of public transportation services, connecting, and coordinating a robust network of transportation options for everyone.