As the Watauga County community prepares for an exciting fall semester and the return of university students to the area, AppalCART is gearing up with a renewed commitment to the health and safety of passengers. This includes more rigorous preventive measures to protect against the spread of COVID-19.
“So many university students and Watauga County residents have come to rely on AppalCART, and our foremost priority is to provide quality transportation services in a way that ensures the safety and health of our passengers and drivers,” said Craig Hughes, AppalCART Director.
Hughes emphasized the critical role AppalCART plays in reducing car traffic to the area daily by thousands of cars as the transportation service carries between 13,000 and 14,000 passengers per day throughout the county. He says they have been consulting with other comparable systems to determine a response to COVID while maintaining critical and essential services.
He said AppalCART’s response includes measures such as increased sanitation practices, mandatory face covering, social distancing while waiting at stops and during entry, exit and transit on AppalCART vehicles. AppalCART is also closely following guidelines and requirements issued by the Centers for Disease Control as well as those set forth by federal, state and local governments.
“We are having ongoing conversations with other university transit systems across North Carolina and we’re working together to develop strategies to provide for the transportation needs of our community,” Hughes said. “We realize that we are a valuable resource to the university and our community and we want to continue to provide necessary, essential transportation to those who need it.”
In detail, AppalCART COVID-19 prevention measures include the following:
- Sanitizing pumps provided throughout AppalCART facilities and vehicles. (Dispensers have been installed on all buses)
- All drivers are required to wear masks while driving AppalCART vehicles.
- All AppalCART employees are being screened each day prior to starting their shift
- Buses and vans are sanitized each Sunday night with a fogging agent.
- Teams are cleaning buses multiple times per day.
- Face coverings are required for all passengers. As the state moves through the reduction of restrictions on social distancing and buses become crowded, it is necessary for passengers to wear face coverings to reduce the chances of transmitting the COVID-19 virus.
AppalCART is instituting these additional precautionary measures inside buses to increase air circulation, promote social distancing and reduce transit time:
- Barriers between drivers and passengers will be installed on all vehicles.
- Seats will be clearly marked to ensure social distancing on buses.
- The emergency hatches on the top of the buses will be opened to promote circulation of air on the buses while they are moving
- Driver windows will remain open to allow for an increased circulation of air in the driver area.
- We are also eliminating some stops to reduce delay on routes
For a new infomercial about AppalCART’s COVID-19 preparedness, visit – YouTube Link
For more information about AppalCART, visit www.appalcart.com.
For up-to-date local COVID-19 information, visit https://www.apphealthcare.com/covid-19-information/
For more information concerning steps to prevent the Coronavirus, go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html .
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