The Imperial County Transportation Commission adjusted to the evolving COVID-19 virus crisis by closing its office to the public as of March 18 but personnel are available by phone and email to assist with transit questions or concerns.
The agency oversees area transit operations and most routes are still running.
Meetings will now be conducted by conference call or video conference, explained Mark Baza, executive director. However, all Imperial Valley College fixed routes are now cancelled at the request of IVC administrators because of the closure of the campus, Baza noted.
“But currently there are no planned changes to our regular fixed-route system IVT ACCESS (advanced reservation for mobility disadvantage), IVT Ride or IVT Med Trans (doctor appointments in San Diego),” said Baza. “We lost a lot of ridership with IVC students so, we’re kind of going into summer mode and it certainly cuts into our fare box revenue but it also cuts down overhead expenses.”
ICTC will monitor ridership levels and adjust service to comply with government directives owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, Baza added. Staff will continue to carry out their respective duties but without in-person contact. However, they will maintain regular communication with the latest information based on recommendations from public health officials.
Working closely with Transit First, the contractor operating the vehicles, ICTC will ensure continuity of service with bus drivers, maintenance employees and service worker shifts to provide uninterrupted service to transit users, Baza assured.
Meanwhile, ICTC is cancelling trips for staff training and administrative conferencing. It is also cancelling non-essential public meetings or they will be held via video conferencing. The next ICTC Commission and Local Transportation Authority meeting is scheduled for March 25.
“In order to allow flexibility for board members, we are proposing to host the meeting at our ICTC office using Zoom Teleconferencing,” said Baza. “This will allow members to participate in person or remotely from their city or county office.”
But to meet Brown Act requirements remote participants need to notice their location and post the meeting agenda at that location in advance. Those attending remotely will receive a follow up with details. This meeting is essential as board action will be required for fiscal year 2018-19 audits for IVT transit operations, Baza added.
In view of the COVID-19 proliferation, I.V. Transit adopted an enhanced cleaning regimen of all buses. All IVT vehicles are cleansed daily and undergo deep cleanings with bleach to disinfect surfaces as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. Disinfectant is used throughout the day when opportunities arise. Maintenance teams spot mop bus shelters nightly.
Riders can also assume responsibility to help improve safety, Baza added.
They are reminded to wash hands often with soap and warm water or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol content. Riders are advised to avoid close contact with the ill, remain at home if they fall ill, avoid wearing a mask if not already ill, as well as refrain from eating while on the bus. All IVT personnel are urged to follow the same procedures as the riders.
This story is featured in the Mar 26,, 2020 e-Edition.