Run more trains- Large cities with a subway system carry hundreds of people on one train. Crammed trains increase the risk of exposure to COVID. One way to limit the number of people cramming onto a train is to limit the number of carts on a train and increase the number of trains. If we don't have enough train engines to operate in this new COVID reality, we will need to build more trains. Building trains in the US is an opportunity to create more jobs in the US.
Build High Speed Infrastructure- China, Japan, Europe all have speed trains. It is time that we accelerate the development of high-speed rail infrastructure in our beautiful country. Faster trains will get commuters from point A to B faster. The less time commuters spend on public transportation, the lower the risk of exposure to COVID. Building high speed rails will also create more in the US. Please do not contract the building of trains out to other countries. We have the skills and will to learn in the US, so please keep all jobs related to high speed rail in the united states. Let our US workforce meet the needs of our economic recovery.
Address Inequity- Inequity poses a threat to pubic safety. We need to understand the survival needs of our fellow Americans. Some at risk populations ride the subway trains to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. They often can not afford the more expensive trains so the subway trains is where they rest or panhandle. Sometimes the panhandling can be aggressive and may put commuters on subway/lower cost trains at a higher risk. One way to mitigate risk is to allow fewer people on each cart of the train, perhaps a train personnel can be positioned in each cart to ensure that the cart capacity (with physical distancing) is heeded and enforced.
Remove and replace train station turn-styles- Turn styles are metal bars where the virus can live and be transferred. Mitigate risk of exposure by installing no contact train station entrances. Install digital/scanning capable ticket/entrance equipment that can read a train pass by holding the pass/hovering over the sensor to ensure no contact/exposure. All train passes should be digitized and compatible with ticketing equipment that can read/scan a ticket/pass without contact.
Use the video surveillance equipment on train carts- If the conductor sees that a train cart is too full, the policy should be not pull out of the train station. People have to learn to be safe. What was once called "rush hour" for commuting must now be "safe hour." People who are still cramming on to trains will quickly learn to adjust their behavior if the train conductor enforces the cart capacity rules by not pulling out of the station until each cart has a safe number of people.
Install capacity sensors to count capacity- There is significant contact when commuters on-board and de-board trains from the same door. We need to determine if there is a way to install sensors at each door of the train cart to count the number of people getting on and off. If there are two doors on each train cart, designate on door (clearly marked inside and outside) for on-boarding and the other door for de-boarding. We need to determine if our IT experts can create a software/algorithm that quickly adds the on-boarding and de-boarding counts and transits the number of commuters in each cart to a computer screen in the conductors cabin. The conductor can then do a scan of all carts represented on the train and move forward if the train meets the safe capacity. Publicize the on-boarding entrance and de-boarding exits via a poster campaign and PSA through local media outlets.
Update workplace policies to accommodate longer commutes- Employers should not penalize workers for being late due to longer commute times. Rushed employees may risk their health and risk the lives of others. If rushed employees push and shove themselves onto a train/bus because they are in a hurry, they may be bringing along COVID to the workplace. Employers have to think with wisdom and for the long term safety of operations.
God Bless our beautiful country.