COVID 19 Operational Ideas You Can Use

Ideas from the SWTA Nation and beyond about how to handle the COVID-19 internally and externally. Please send us your ideas and questions about how to practically operationalize this crisis. Email Kristen at

SWTA Resources: The COVID-19 Response in the SWTA Nation

FTA Emergency Relief Docket

Annual emergency relief procedures allow grantees and subgrantees affected by national or regional emergencies to request temporary relief from FTA administrative and statutory requirements. The Emergency Relief Docket process allows grantees to petition FTA for relief from legislative or administrative requirements in response to emergencies or major disasters, such as hurricanes.

Please provide comments, petitioning FTA today about relief needed for TRANSIT - click here.

DOT Guidance on Drug & Alcohol Testing

This guidance document provides clarity to DOT-regulated employers, employees, and service agents on conducting DOT drug-and-alcohol testing given concerns about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

DOL Families First COVID-19 Documents to Post for Employees

Families First Coronavirus Response Act Notice – Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

Paid Sick Leave & Expanded Family & Medical Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (PDF)

Overview Resources

Social Distancing for Passengers

1. Houston Metro created signage, placed checkerboard style, throughout their vehicles to provide social distancing reminders. See the images and related article here.

2. Las Cruces RoadRunner, along with many other systems, have temporarily suspended fare collection to reduce physical contact among drivers and passengers.


1. Rock Region Metro has developed messaging to bring comfort and information to all stakeholder groups. Consider starting the first sentence with your SYSTEM NAME. Many thanks to Rebecca Green for the excellent word-smithing.

“Our service is taking health care workers to their jobs, patients to health care appointments and families to needed social services organizations every day, and those services are still in critical need during this outbreak. We are encouraging our employees to practice good hygiene so we can meet the critical mobility needs of central Arkansans,” said Charles Frazier, METRO executive director. “As we move forward, we will keep riders aware of any service changes and ask for patience in advance in the event that service reductions need to be made in the future.”

2. Facebook post from Flint MTA, Flint, Michigan, Ed Benning

The Mass Transportation Authority is continuing to provide all regular services,7 days per week.

  • In order to protect our employees and the public we have increased our cleaning crew to 25 employees, providing extensive cleaning of all facilities and vehicles throughout the day. A special crew is assigned to our transportation center to clean vehicles every 30 minute cycle.
  • Customer sanitizer stations are being added in key areas.
  • We have asked our employees to stay home if they’re ill and to wash their hands continually throughout the work day.
  • The MTA is appealing to our customers to follow the same protocols while using the services
  • This is a very difficult time for all of us and we appreciate your patience as we work through the many issues that may arise
  • In closing, I would like to recognize all of our employees and that great work they are performing daily. Also, a shout out to the community for all of your support.

3. CATS - Charlotte, NC is holding internal Town Halls with bus operators, maintenance personnel, supervisors, to hear their concerns and ideas at street service level.

4. King County Metro has produced a video showing the cleaning process to ease fears of all customers. Click here to view video.

5. Best Practices in Crisis Communication, NCHRP Report #769. Click here to download an excerpt - scroll to page 2.

Protecting Operators

1. The SMART bus system, Detroit, MI, looked at the place where most passengers touch. Deputy General Manager Robert Cramer says that’s the fare box.

“So the thought was that if we basically turn off the fare boxes and run a fare-free service, we’re going to require everyone who’s able to board and exit the bus through the back doors,” Cramer explained.

Extra Cleaning Measures

1. DCTA has ordered disposable gowns and goggles for their cleaning crew.

2. Eureka Springs has a mandatory hourly wipedown of all surfaces on trolleys and has hired an overnight team to deep clean the vehicles and depot each night.

3. Zia Therapy Group has ordered hand sanitizer dispensers for all vehicles.

4. The EPA has a list of disinfectants to use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. See pdf list here.

Ideas for Managers

1. APTA - Webinar recorded on March 5, 2020 - How to Prepare an Agency for a Pandemic. Click Here. This is an excellent interview with agency leaders who have gone through H1N1 and other pandemic events in the past and how they survived. Additional information on how agencies are preparing and executing plans for COVID-19. Well worth listening to the entire recording.

2. APTA - Policy Brief: A Guide for Public Transportation Pandemic Planning and Response. For NCHRP 769 Report, Click Here

3. CTAA - Resources Click Here


Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas


Best Practices in Crisis Communication NCHRP 769
House T&I Committee (Minority Members): COVID-19 Resource Guide Agency Actions & Information
DOT Guidance on Drug & Alcohol Testing
Families First Coronavirus Response Act Notice – Frequently Asked Questions
Full Text: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
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