The Orange County Transportation Authority reached a major milestone in the ongoing effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) when the 1 millionth free face covering was distributed aboard an OC Bus.
OCTA continues to prioritize public health and safety during the pandemic and, since spring 2020, has been distributing masks to passengers who need one as they board an OC Bus.
“Our dedication to safety at OCTA has been clearly demonstrated by our efforts to provide 1 million masks – and counting – to our bus riders,” said OCTA Chairman Andrew Do, also the county’s First District Supervisor. “There’s no question that doing so has helped keep our passengers and coach operators safer and, ultimately, it has saved lives.”
For nearly a year, OCTA has required passengers and coach operators to wear masks onboard, in line with guidance from health officials and following industry best practices. In January 2021, new federal regulations went into effect mandating masks on all public transit. Electronic signs on the front of each OC Bus read: “No Mask – No Ride.”
Distribution of the face coverings has been made possible with the help of the Federal Transit Administration, which supplied some of the masks. And reimbursement of the cost of the other masks is made possible by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act.
Even as the number of cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 has fallen and the county has advanced through the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, OCTA has never wavered from its public safety commitment.
In addition to providing the free face coverings, OCTA has numerous health and safety measures in place, including enhanced bus cleanings, passenger hand sanitizer stations on every bus, Plexiglass driver shields, and employee COVID-19 screenings with temperature checks.
OCTA has reached out to passengers to educate and remind them of the face-covering requirement in several ways, including the signs at the front of the bus, signs above seating areas, onboard audio reminders in multiple languages, and through social media and eblasts to customers.
OCTA also coordinated with community partners and local social-service agencies to make free, reusable masks available to vulnerable populations such as OC ACCESS paratransit riders.
Throughout the pandemic, OCTA has followed the guidance of federal, state and local health experts, in close coordination with the Orange County Health Care Agency.
OCTA also has followed best practices implemented by the State of California, the FTA and the California Transit Association, and will continue to do so to help keep Orange County moving safely.