Antelope Valley Transit Authority implemented new boarding procedures Tuesday, with passengers asked to board through the rear doors whenever possible. Passengers who use mobility devices that require the use of a bus ramp will be allowed to board through the front doors.

LANCASTER — Antelope Valley Transit Authority continues to uphold the health and safety of its passengers and employees as the top priority. In order to promote social distancing and for the safety and well-being of bus operators and the riding public, as of Tuesday, all boarding will be through the rear doors of buses whenever possible.

Passengers using mobility devices that require the use of a bus ramp will be allowed to board through the front doors.

All local fixed routes will now be fare-free until further notice in order to facilitate mandatory rear-door-only boarding.

AVTA encourages the Antelope Valley community to avoid discretionary travel. Both the County of Los Angeles and the State of California have issued a Stay at Home Order for control of COVID-19 that dictates the temporary closure of events and gatherings of 10 persons or more and of non-essential businesses and areas. The agency is implementing these additional measures to comply with the order and help mitigate further risk of exposure to its passengers and operators.

“AVTA is dedicated to our riders’ and employees’ health and safety,” AVTA Board Chairman Marvin Crist said. “We understand the trust our community has placed in us and we are committed to taking steps to help our riders and employees have a healthy transit experience.”

During this current flu season and in light of concerns over the potential spreading of COVID-19, it is vital for everyone to act in a responsible and conscientious manner. It is everyone’s responsibility to take everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs.

“According to experts, avoiding close contact with people who are sick is the first step to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Macy Neshati, AVTA Executive Director and CEO said. “Practicing healthy habits, including social distancing, is vital.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided detailed recommendations for healthy habits to prevent the spreading of flu viruses, including COVID-19. These habits can be summarized in these three points:

1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

3. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

For additional first-hand information from experts on reducing the spread of germs, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/

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