TriMet increasing capacity on buses and trains
TriMet increased capacity on its buses and trains Sunday, July 26, while still complying with the most recent health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Among other things, the regional transit agency reduced the required spacing between passengers from 6 to 3 feet on July 26 while still mandating that all employees and riders wear masks. TriMet said the change complies with Oregon Health Authority guidelines.
Cleaning procedures across the transit system also have been elevated during the pandemic to include nightly sanitization of all in-service vehicles, the use of disinfectant fogging machines, a pilot test of ultraviolet light disinfectant and the daily cleaning of frequently touched surfaces at transit centers and busy stops and stations, TriMet said.
TriMet also has hired 130 additional cleaning staff, and will disinfect major touch points on most buses and trains with a goal of four-hour intervals between disinfection.
"With Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties still in Phase 1 of reopening, we continue to ask riders to use transit only for necessary trips. This helps leave space on board for those who must travel," TriMet said when announcing the changes.
The transition to increase capacity will take some time because signs in 700 buses and 145 MAX trains will need to be updated to encourage physical distancing of 3-feet or more while onboard. The new capacity limits will be as follows: 40-foot bus, 19 to 24 passengers; 30-foot bus, 13 to 17 passengers; MAX trains, 22 to 26 passengers; WES trains: 25 to 37 passengers, depending on the type of car.
TriMet also is preparing to launch one of its most ambitious capital improvement project. Between Sunday, Aug. 2, and Saturday, Aug. 29, the Steel Bridge MAX Improvements project will bring a four-week closure of the bridge to MAX trains, buses and autos. All five MAX lines will be disrupted and shuttle buses will connect trips that cross the Willamette River. Face coverings are required on shuttles, just as they are on all of our buses and trains. Face coverings and hand sanitizer will be available for anyone who needs it.
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