SamTrans and Bay Area transit agencies are teaming up to ensure that those individuals who are eligible for the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine can use transit to get to vaccination sites – and can easily learn where and how to do it.
In the latest initiative of the collective Riding Together: Bay Area Healthy Transit Plan the healthytransitplan.com website now includes new Web page with a list of vaccination sites accessible by public transportation and the current special promotions offered by the agencies serving the sites.
Transit-friendly vaccination sites will help provide equitable access, especially for vulnerable Bay Area communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
“Getting as many people vaccinated as soon as possible, especially the underserved and most vulnerable, is critical for all of us,” said Jim Hartnett, General Manager/CEO of SamTrans. “Doing this is ingrained in our public mission and the ethos of our hard working employees.”
Last month, SamTrans began providing free bus rides on existing service to COVID-19 vaccination sites for people living or working within San Mateo County. Since the onset of the pandemic, SamTrans has helped ensure essential workers and transit-dependent riders can remain mobile and get where they need to go, including providing free fares to individuals for several months in 2020.
For people interested in the free bus ride, passengers going to a vaccination site must let the bus operator know as soon as they board the bus and show proof of the vaccine appointment or a vaccination card. Fare payment to vaccination sites will not be required until further notice. Redi-Wheels and Redi-Coast paratransit services will also offer eligible participants free rides to and from vaccination sites. Riders need to indicate while booking their reservation that the trip is for the purpose of a COVID-19 vaccination. Staff will then alert the driver that the rider is not required to pay the fare.
The Healthy Transit Plan was launched in August 2020, and is a collaborative effort bringing together the Bay Area’s transit systems to establish common commitments based upon the industry’s best health-related practices to strengthen trust in riding public transportation.
Larger Bay Area transit systems with parking lots and plazas have offered locations to county officials, health care providers and community groups to host vaccination sites and free COVID-19 testing. As the vaccine distribution continues, more transit-friendly locations are anticipated. The Web page will be updated with new information as more locations are added. For more details, please visit www.healthytransitplan.com/vaccination-sites/.