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Public Transportation Etiquette: The Golden Rules During COVID-19

Pinky Advani
Pinky Advani May 29, 2020 Pinky Advani is a former Senior Business Development Manager at Arlington Transportation Partners.

ATP Takeaway: As people return to offices, read our updated etiquette guidelines to ensure safety for fellow passengers on public transportation. And always refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for guidance related to COVID-19.

The current pandemic brought many changes in our daily lives. Some of us nailed down the perfect banana bread recipe, tried virtual workouts, became a Zoom call wizard, and more. I checked all of the above and I am looking forward to returning to the office. As stay-at-home orders are lifted and we return to offices in phases, read our public transit etiquette guidelines that we’ve updated with COVID-19 in mind.

Small changes in our daily habits can make a big difference and help reduce the spread of the virus. Always refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and your local transit authorities on additional rules and best practices as regions begin to reopen.



Social Distance

Stay at least six feet from other people even when wearing a mask, keeping the distance even when boarding and sitting on public transit.

Many of us are going stir crazy at home and waiting to catch up with friends and family but we need to remember—no group gatherings. Let’s switch to namastes, air hugs, and air high fives all while maintaining the CDC recommended six feet distance.

Good Hygiene

In previous public transit etiquette blogs, I mentioned the mandatory use of deodorant. Beyond that, make sure to wash your hands frequently as it is one of the best and easiest ways to prevent the spread of germs and infection. Wash your hands when you get off transit or bicycles or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if you can’t right away. When in doubt, wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds.

New Boarding Rules

Passengers are not to board from the front door on Metrobuses and ART buses and fares will not be collected. Exceptions will be made for passengers using mobility devices and in need of ADA assistant. Enter and exit the bus from the rear door. Bus drivers may skip a stop if the bus cannot accommodate additional passengers to ensure safety of riders.

Mask and Face Coverings

A mask or cloth face covering helps slow the spread of the virus. All riders are required to wear a mask or cloth face coverings when boarding the Metrorail and bus. If you are using reusable fabric masks, make sure to wash them regularly.

No Changes in Food, Drinks, and Music Rules

Eating and drinking are still not allowed on public transit. Please don’t try eating under the mask. You’re welcome to listen to your favorite songs or podcasts on your commute but please be respectful to your fellow riders and use headphones. Let’s make it a clean and enjoyable ride for all.

Commute Assistance

Did I miss any rules? Feel free to share with me and I’ll add to the list. As you return to the office and choose a commute mode that works best for you, keep all safety guidelines in mind. Not sure about your commute options? Arlington Transportation Partners can help you create a customized commute plan for your essential commutes and trips.

Customize my commute - click for our commute planner

Photo Credit: Sam Kittner/ for Arlington Transportation Partners

Tags: Bus, Metro, Health, Transit, Coronavirus


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