By Jensen, Randy on May 28, 2020.
The City of Lethbridge has fabricated new shields for Transit drivers as an additional protective measure against the possible transmission of COVID-19.
Approximately half of the City’s Transit fleet have been retrofitted with the shields and installation continues for the remaining buses, the City said in a news release. When looking in the marketplace for an acceptable product to protect drivers, it became clear that purchasing the shields would not be economically feasible for the entire Transit fleet.
“The original products available in the market were designed to protect drivers from assaults and cost over $5,000 each,” says Mario Galeana, Transit maintenance manager. “But we knew this was important for protecting our staff and our riders so we took it upon ourselves to create something in-house.”
The Transit maintenance team began working on prototypes, testing them and working closely with drivers and the Transit Union to ensure they meet staff safety measures without disrupting the operator’s workflow or ergonomics. The materials for the new solution cost approximately $100/bus and are being installed by City staff.
“We now have a solution that everyone is proud of and confident in, all for a fraction of the cost,” says Galeana.
In April, the City of Lethbridge suspended regular Transit routes due to COVID-19, moving to a ride-by-reservation system. This helps limit the number of riders per bus and reduces potential contact with drivers.
Transit will continue operating the reservation system at this time and will ensure shields are in all buses before regular transit is operating again. The shields will be important to keep drivers safe when fare payments and front passenger loading returns.
For more information on the City of Lethbridge’s response to COVID-19 http://www.lethbridge.ca/covid19.