Arizona valley essential transit workers are now prioritized to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I have advocated for quite some time for these essential workers to move up on the priority list, and am pleased to see the county take action,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “Since the pandemic began, these are the people who show up every day, and work in close contact with other people — sometimes helping them board a bus or even buckle a seatbelt. They do it despite the risk to their own health. There is no question they are the backbone of our local economy.”
The Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) will give the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine during an event that occurs March 12 to 14. There are approximately 4,000 frontline transit workers who serve metro Phoenix communities.
The event is open only to public transit personnel including bus, light rail, and paratransit workers and is being shared with another sector of essential workers, United States Postal Service employees.
“There are thousands of transit workers in the Valley who, from day one of the pandemic, have shown up to keep our region moving," said Scott Smith, Valley Metro CEO. “I am awed by our team and their commitment to serving the public and other essential workers, including our grocery store and healthcare workers. They are truly heroes moving heroes.”
Transit workers are employed by Valley Metro, city of Phoenix, and a dozen contracted firms, including First Transit, Transdev, Alternate Concepts Inc., Allied Universal, and DMS Facility Services, to name a few.
“Having several agencies working together as a team has allowed us to protect our frontline employees,” said Lynn McLean, General Manager, First Transit East Valley. “I want to thank those who have continued through this pandemic year to provide service to the public. I also want to thank the agencies that have provided this opportunity for transit workers to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their families and our passengers.”
About a year ago, Valley Metro and the city of Phoenix began implementing more stringent cleaning protocols and safety measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 and protect frontline staff and passengers. Enhanced cleaning and boarding limitations were put in place, face coverings were mandated, and temporary barriers were installed in the driver area to create a safe distance between operators and passengers. Permanent barriers are being installed on the entire bus fleet now.