Public transportation serves thousands a day; but they are near the last to receive COVID vaccine
Bus drivers with the Jackson Transit Authority see hundreds of passengers a day and although the COVID-19 vaccine is out, they may not receive it until early spring.
JTA drivers saw over 300,000 passengers throughout 2020.
They continued to stay open for people who had to get groceries or get to work through the pandemic.
“The drivers wear masks and we have hand sanitizer on the buses and throughout our building and here recently we’ve installed barriers on the buses. So, that will add extra protection," says Whitney Dickson, planning and grants manger for JTA.
Drivers wipe down their buses on breaks, staff clean the buses at the end of the day, and each Sunday each bus goes through a deep clean.
Although all these precautions are taken drivers still come in contact with many people each day.
Employees in transportation are not planned to get the vaccine until phase 2b which is around quarter 2 of the year.
Dickson says their drivers work in the public daily and should be higher on the list for the vaccine, “I think it’s very important we are a little higher up than we are. I think right now the health department says we are in the 2a, 2b group that’s puts us march or April before we can even begin getting ours".
Dickson added especially when some of their riders are at a higher risk for contracting the virus, “with our lift program we transport a lot of people with underlying health conditions. We have dialysis patients and they are very at risk".
Officials with JTA say they will continue to keep drivers and passengers safe until they can receive that vaccine.