Response to VTA Passengers not Wearing Masks and Overcrowding

In response to recent social media posts showing VTA passengers not wearing masks and buses being over-crowded:

Yes, face coverings ARE required on all buses.  For the driver’s safety, we do not want them engaging in confrontations over the enforcement of face coverings; (https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2020/07/22/mta-bus-driver-punched-over-mask...(CBSNewYork)%20%E2%80%93%20Police,bus%20without%20a%20face%20covering.) (https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/san-francisco-bus-driver-assault...) (https://time.com/5866326/french-bus-driver-beaten-masks/).

“Face Coverings Required” signage is posted on all buses, our website and social media accounts. All drivers have masks to give out to passengers who are not wearing them, but, if a passenger refuses to wear a face covering, the driver should call the office and the appropriate law enforcement will be dispatched to that bus.  We have not needed police assistance concerning this topic so far.

The incidence of two passengers not wearing masks that happened Monday morning (7/27/2020) on Route 13 was an unfortunate circumstance, not a common occurrence.  The driver should have offered both passengers a mask, and if the passengers refused to take them and put them on, the driver should have called the office.  We apologize that this did not happen, but are grateful someone posted the image so we can address the situation.  In light of this post:  all drivers will be reminded of the face covering requirement and the protocol for handling these situations.

In response to overcrowding:  ridership is being monitored on a daily basis in order to add additional service, primarily on Route 13 and any other routes that need it, as demand increases.  COVID-19 did not stop summer from happening on MV and we are doing our best to keep up with ever changing demand, while trying to socially distance, keep our drivers and passengers safe, and the traveling public happy.  The Bus Operations & Crowding Plan that is laid out on our website was developed during Phase 2 Re-Opening; we are currently in Phase 3 which raises the suggested capacity to 50% for tour buses, as there is no suggested capacity for public transit.  We will be updating our crowding plan to reflect this change; however there will likely be times when some buses exceed the reduced recommended capacity for a short period of time.

We want to hear what’s going on out there – if we don’t, we can’t fix it.  So if you witness passengers not wearing masks, or have any questions or concerns, we urge you to contact our office directly at 508-693-9440 x3 or info@vineyardtransit.com with detailed information so we can work to resolve it immediately.  Thank you for your continued support and stay safe!