TransForm Statement on Bay Area Healthy Transit Plan

For Immediate Release: August 19, 2020

CONTACT: Hayley Currier, Policy Advocacy Manager, (415) 659-8624, hcurrier@transformca.org

Since April, TransForm and our labor and community group allies have been asking the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) to issue strong, uniform health and safety standards that apply to all 27 Bay Area transit agencies. Finally, after four months of advocacy on behalf of workers, riders, and equity advocates, MTC and the transit operators have released the Bay Area Healthy Transit Plan.

In response, Hayley Currier, TransForm’s Policy Advocacy Manager and a member of MTC’s Blue Ribbon Transit Recovery Task Force, released the following statement:

“While we appreciate transit operators responding to our demands for universal standards for worker and rider safety, the document released today falls short of what is needed. The Bay Area Healthy Transit Plan fails to provide concrete standards or specific requirements that operators must follow to keep workers and riders safe.

“This plan still leaves most of the decisions up to each individual operator, which will lead to unsafe gaps and inconsistencies. It claims to ‘give transit customers consistent expectations,’ while still asking each operator to come up with their own assessment protocols, determinations of minimum PPE, and job hazard analyses. The document relies heavily on employee and rider responsibility, without requiring significant action or changes from transit operators. For example, it emphasizes the importance of masks and good hand hygiene, yet doesn’t require transit operators to provide masks, hand sanitizer, or hand-washing stations.

“Workers and riders deserve to feel and be safe. That’s what frontline workers, bus and train operators, and people who depend on transit said in hundreds of emails, phone calls, and public comments to MTC over the last four months.

“It’s clear now that transit agencies won’t impose rigorous requirements on themselves — MTC must hold transit agencies accountable to strong, consistent safety standards.”

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