There are many resources that provide information about COVID-19 and how the transit industry is affected. For the most current information, these sites can help keep you up-to-date on recommendations and requirements.
Some websites, like National RTAP, may provide explanations in a more user-friendly way and offer tips beyond the regulations. Most sites will also direct you to official government sites. Please keep in mind that unless you are visiting a government website, the information is advisory and helpful, but it is not official.
Federal and state regulations are often compatible. If they are in conflict, federal regulations take precedence.
The FTA COVID-19 Resource Tool
, a weekly compilation of Federal COVID-19 guidance and recommendations, summarizes information about new U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized booster doses, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) workplace vaccination program guidance, CDC booster data and more (see the Vaccine Planning and the COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan tabs).
Transit Association Websites
Links to State of Oregon websites:
Oregon Health Authority
State of Oregon - Office of the Governor
Links to federal websites:
FTA's COVID-19 Website
CDC's COVID-19 Website
TSA's COVID-19 Website
COVID-19 Resource Tool for Public Transportation
CDC Federal Register Notice: Wearing of Face Masks While on Conveyances and at Transportation Hubs
CDC Requirement for Face Masks on Public Transportation Conveyances and at Transportation Hubs
COVID-19 Employer Information for Transit Maintenance Workers | CDC
What Rail Transit Operators Need to Know about COVID-19 | CDC
Additional COVID-19 Information
Last Updated: March 31, 2021
What are the guidelines for transit agencies operating during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) publishes information about COVID-19, including general and agency-specific guidelines. Visit the
OHA COVID-19 webpage for more information.
This guidance provides links to:
- Masks, Face Coverings, and Face Shields
- General Guidance for Employers and Organizations
- Updates to guidance as directed by applicable executive orders statutes. These updates usually include direction from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Are public transit agency employees required to wear masks? What about public transit passengers?
Yes. Public transit agency employees and public transit passengers are required to wear face coverings/masks under both state and federal laws. There are a few exceptions for employees under Transportation Security Administration directives, and some exceptions for passengers under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The application of these exceptions vary so check with the relevant transit agency about an exception.
Since things can change quickly, it is a good idea to check with state and federal COVID-related websites if you have questions.
These websites include:
How might a transit agency approach enforcing the face covering requirement for passengers?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued an order, effective February 1, 2021, requiring passengers on all public conveyances to wear masks when boarding, disembarking, traveling, or on transit properties.
Agencies are required to enforce the order; however, the FTA leaves enforcement decisions up to local jurisdictions. The primary goal of the CDC order is to encourage compliance, so enforcement isn’t necessary. They want to encourage education and cooperation.
Are Transit Providers required to transport visibly sick riders?
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has provided guidance (under the civil rights section of its
FAQ document) to offer options for transporting visibly sick riders who represent a direct threat to the health or safety of others.
Transit agencies should consult with local public health officials, city or county managers, and local legal counsel before determining whether a transit rider should be denied access in the interest of public health. These decisions should be made at a policy level and not left up to vehicle operator discretion.
What resources are available to transit providers to continue operating?
In addition to regular FTA financial assistance through the Section 5307, 5310, and 5311 programs, additional funding for COVID-19-related expenses has been provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (CRRSAA). General information about these programs is available on the FTA’s COVID-19 website. Information specific to Oregon is available on the PTD website.
Can 5310 and 5311 funds be used to provide meal delivery?
Yes, 5310 and 5311-funded vehicles can be used to provide meal delivery.
Subrecipients can pay for operating meal delivery services through the following:
- 5311: This can be done using CARES funding (100% match rate), CRRSAA funding (100% match rate), and the Emergency Relief enhanced match rate (100%).
- 5310: This can be done with the regular match rate for regular 5310 funds; the Emergency Relief enhanced match rate is not available for 5310. CRRSAA funds (100% match rate) are also available.
Note: The period of eligibility for using 5311 funds for operating meal delivery has been extended until January 20, 2022.
Has FTA waived any federal requirements?
Transit agencies responding to the COVID-19 pandemic may use the Emergency Relief Docket to request a waiver from FTA administrative and regulatory requirements, as well as the provisions of any non-statutory FTA requirements.
Some federal requirements include specific provisions related to emergencies, and therefore, no FTA waiver is necessary.
FTA's COVID-19 FAQs page provides additional details and contact information regarding waiver requests.
FAQs regarding the Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund (STIF)
Can funding from the Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund (STIF) be used to maintain existing public transportation services?
During the 2020 Special Legislative Session, the Oregon legislature passed Senate Bill 1601
, amending laws controlling the Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund (STIF) programs. One provision revised ORS 184.751(1) allowing use of STIF Formula funds for maintaining existing transportation services as of July 7, 2020.
Previously, STIF Formula funds could only be used to expand or improve public transportation services. This amendment is intended to help address the fiscal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on transit providers. Current and future STIF Plans will reflect the changes SB1601 made to STIF statute.
Can STIF funding be used to support transportation services other than public transportation services?
No, STIF statutes limit STIF use to financing investments and improvements in public transportation services, except for light rail capital.
Where else can transit providers find more information or examples?
Contact your ODOT regional transit coordinator or reach out to partner transit agencies. ODOT PTD will continue to update its COVID-19 webpage. It has links to relevant information and examples from state or national agencies. The
FTA also has resources available. We are all in this together and need to continue working together and supporting each other.
Public Transit COVID-19 Updates
May 7, 2020
The ODOT Public Transportation Division (PTD) has successfully secured a supply of protective cloth face coverings through Oregon's Emergency Coordination Center. These coverings are not medical grade surgical or N95 masks, such as those used by healthcare professionals; however, they are useful as protection against the spread of the coronavirus and may be washed for repeated use.
PTD will be providing these face coverings to public transportation providers across Oregon, free of charge. Distribution methods and recipients are at each agency's discretion. We are prioritizing delivery to rural agencies, as supply options may be limited in those areas. Once initial rural orders are filled, additional requests will be considered depending on the remaining supply. There is a limit of 200 per agency at a time.
To indicate your interest in obtaining a supply of face coverings, please complete the order form located here:
Face Covering Order Form and submit it to PTD for processing.
We will arrange delivery to the address provided on the form. Delivery may take up to two weeks from PTD's receipt of the order form. In the event that an order cannot be filled, PTD will contact the requestor immediately.
We are very interested in keeping bus drivers, staff that routinely interact with the public, and passengers healthy during this pandemic. Providing these face coverings is just one of many measures we are all taking during this time.