By Tricia White | Managing Editor
DART remains committed to doing everything it can to keep riders safe during the coronavirus pandemic while providing essential transportation services.
Working closely with local, state and national health authorities – including the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – DART has aggressively expanded agency-wide cleaning and safety protocols.
All vehicles receive cleanings throughout the day using products identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as successful in killing the coronavirus, as well as influenza, rhinovirus, norovirus, salmonella, staphylococcus and E. coli.
Each weekday, DART Rail vehicles also receive a complete cleaning between 7 p.m. and 3 a.m., which includes sweeping, mopping and a complete wipe-down with an EPA-approved cleaning agent. On weekends, when ridership is reduced, DART sanitizes trains with Halosil foggers that use a hydrogen peroxide-based cleaning solution with antimicrobial silver ions to sanitize and disinfect each train and clean all surfaces.
DART buses also receive cleanings nightly with an EPA-approved cleaning agent, focusing on high-touch surfaces such as handrails, stop-request strips and grab rails. DART cleans buses on a rotating basis with the Halosil foggers to sanitize and disinfect. Over 80% of DART buses feature a germicidal air purification system designed to reduce the transmission of airborne bacteria and viruses as air is recirculated throughout the bus.
The agency continues to isolate vehicles and block off facility areas that have been exposed to unsanitary and unhygienic situations. This includes removing vehicles from service that have been exposed to biohazard situations from passengers.
Mask Usage on Vehicles
As more North Texans return to their worksite, ridership on DART’s buses and trains is expected to increase, making social distancing more difficult. The agency now requires customers to wear a face mask or other covering when riding buses and trains in accordance with the governor’s executive order. Use of a face mask while waiting at bus stops, transit facilities and rail stations is also encouraged.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the use of cloth face coverings can help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The masks do not have to be hospital-grade. Customers may use bandanas, scarfs, fabric masks, etc. to cover their mouth and nose.
In addition to wearing a face covering, DART encourages customers to maintain a 6-foot social distance from one another. The agency is limiting the number of passengers who may board its bus and rail vehicles to enable riders to leave empty seats between themselves and other riders.Additional buses and trains are being deployed to allow for extra space on board.
Instead of ticket vending machines and bus fare boxes, DART is encouraging riders to buy their passes with one of the agency’s contactless fare payment options – either the GoPass app or a GoPass Tap card. These are the safest and best way for customers to purchase a pass and avoid contact with surfaces that others may have touched.
By switching to GoPass, customers can buy passes and plan trips right on their phone. The app is free on the App Store or Google Play.
Another option is GoPass Tap, a reloadable fare-payment card. These cards can be purchased at 7-Eleven stores or other participating retailers. Customers can load value onto their GoPass Tap card using cash or credit at retail stores, online at GoPass.org, or over the phone by calling DART Customer Service at 214-979-1111, Option 1.
Customers who see an unhygienic surface or a situation that needs attention are encouraged to contact DART by using the DART Say Something app or by calling DART Customer Service at 214-979-1111.
The DART Say Something app offers a quick and easy method for reporting cleanliness and security concerns directly to DART Police, who will share the concern with the appropriate service teams.
Riders can use the drop-down menu to select the type of activity they want to report, as well as the location of the incident. The app allows users to submit photos, six-second videos and text descriptions. The app also enables two-way communication that allows DART Police dispatchers to request further details.
Download the DART Say Something app for free for iPhone and Android devices from the Apple App Store or from Google Play. Customers can also use text a tip at 214-256-1819 or contact DART Customer Service at 214-979-1111.
Learn more about DART’s coronavirus response at DART.org/health.
To find answers to commonly asked questions, visit DART.org/ask.