The Comet Continues Commitment to Public Safety, Transparency

Staff Report

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

The Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (The COMET) announced that a driver who is employed by their subcontractor, RATP Dev USA, Inc., has tested positive for the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. The driver last worked Thursday, September 10 on Route 18 Red.  The driver will quarantine for 14 days and then be retested. The test results were received late this afternoon.

In line with the focus on the health and safety of its drivers, passengers and employees, The COMET established a policy back in June to notify the public if a customer-facing employee tests positive for COVID-19 for the purpose of contact tracing to minimize spread. Any concerned passengers who were on the affected route are advised to get tested. Both the vehicle and any equipment that encountered the positive test was immediately removed from service and thoroughly sanitized.

“We feel strongly that is important for us to be transparent to protect the community and to do our part to reduce cases,” said John Andoh, Executive Director/CEO of The COMET. “Our present protocols were put into place early on and we’ve communicated with the public at every step. We will continue exploring newer and better ways to ensure that we protect staff and passengers so that they can travel as safely as possible.”

Safety precautions in effect, since the start of the pandemic, include daily disinfecting and enhanced detailing on its vehicles a minimum of four times a month, which includes fogging and steam cleaning. The COMET also continues to do enhanced cleaning of its facilities, including bus shelters and bus benches daily and provide hand sanitizer inside all buses.

Bus operators and staff are required to use the multiple temperature check stations, located in the administration building which houses the drivers’ lounge, upon reporting for their shift. Rear door boarding of all passengers, except for seniors or those in a wheelchair, was implemented months ago.

Enforcing masks or face coverings to ride The COMET buses or enter facilities went into effect in June. The buses operators are instructed to not move unless all passengers are complying. In addition to the mandatory mask policy, drivers were also given face shields to further protect themselves and their passengers. To prevent overcrowding, “tripper” vehicles follow popular routes so that passengers may ride comfortably. No standing is allowed.