MTA New York City Transit announced Friday a new rear-door boarding policy on all buses, beginning on Monday, March 23. The new policy is to protect frontline employees from the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Customers will board and exit all buses using the rear doors. Express bus customers will board as normal, but will not be permitted to sit in the first three rows of the bus to ensure customers are a safe social distance from bus operators. Regular fare policy remains in effect wherever on-board payment boxes or SBS off-board ticket machines continue to be accessible.
“While Governor Cuomo has ordered non-essential workers beginning Sunday night to remain in their homes and not take mass transit, we are taking aggressive action to protect our thousands of frontline employees who are delivering a critical service to New York, moving the healthcare workers, first responders, utility workers, and essential employees who are protecting us from this public health crisis,” said MTA Chairman and CEO, Pat Foye. “Transit workers are the lifeblood of this city and region and we are going to do everything we can to protect their health and safety.”
Transit workers union heads lauded the action. “This is the right move. It will better protect our Bus Operators, give them some peace of mind, and demonstrate that their concerns have been heard,” said President of TWU Local 100, Tony Utano.
“Rear doors access is necessary given the way our state, our city and our nation are dealing with coronavirus,” said President and Business Agent, ATU Local 1056, Mark Henry.