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New guidelines released for public transportation, commuters cautioned

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Posted: Sunday, April 26, 2020. 2:16 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: The Department of Transport (DOT) announced today a series of guidelines to be adhered to when using public transportation under the newly amended State of Emergency (SOE) regulations.

The DOT said that, despite the relaxing of some of the SOE measures, the department continues to work with the Ministry of Health in the national response for COVID-19 and strongly encourages anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms to stay home and avoid traveling.

The newly implemented regulations include: 1. Daily commuters are advised to take alternative buses in the morning and evening to avoid travel during rush hours. Note that the peak hours for workers are from 5:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

  1. With immediate effect, commuters are required to board and exit buses in an orderly fashion. Each passenger must wash their hands with soap and water or sanitize their hands before boarding the bus.
  2. Every person traveling on public transportation must wear a face mask or other face (mouth) covering for the duration of the travel. Anyone who is not shall not be allowed to board any public transportation.
  3. All transportation operators must also wear face masks and are required to clean and sanitize their buses, vans, boats, etc. before and after each run. Upon arrival at the bus terminal along the prescribed route, all passengers are to disembark the bus and the conductor/driver must sanitize the interior of the bus prior to allowing passengers to board the bus.
  4. Public transportation is limited to seated passengers only. Bus operators/drivers shall not transport excess passengers. Transporting standing passengers is a traffic violation and the DOT will enforce the law to its fullest. Anyone standing will be taken off the bus and the driver will be ticketed.
  5. Bus operators are required to provide additional buses during rush hour.
  6. These rules also apply to water taxis.

“Even though Belize is not in a heightened state of emergency, the public is still encouraged to plan ahead and consider traveling outside rush hours, where possible, in an effort to promote social distancing,” the DOT said.

The department also recommended that passengers keep the three-to six-foot distance from each other recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and encouraged members of the public to report  over-crowding of public transportation, including buses, busitos, dollar vans, water taxis and taxis by calling 610-8163.

 

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