Those Keeping the Transit System Moving for Essential Personnel Will Now Have Access to COVID-19 Testing Site
NEWARK, NJ — Beginning next week, COVID-19 testing will be available daily in East Rutherford to all NJ TRANSIT employees. Through an agreement with Agile Urgent Care and Accurate Diagnostics Lab, NJ TRANSIT employees will be accepted for appointment-only testing at the site which opened on April 13 and is currently geared toward first responders and frontline healthcare workers. Online registration access for NJ TRANSIT employees will be available beginning on Sunday, May 3. NJ TRANSIT is also working to expand access to similar testing sites in central and south Jersey.
This expansion of testing advances Principle 2 of Governor Murphy’s “The Road Back: Restoring Economic Health Through Public Health.” With support from the Governor and working with the United Transportation Union’s SMART-TD Local 60 President Jerome Johnson and the Amalgamated Transit Union’s New Jersey State Council President Orlando Riley, NJ TRANSIT is extremely pleased to announce this significant health and safety advancement for NJ TRANSIT employees. The ability to facilitate access to testing for employees will lead to quicker identification of cases, quicker treatment for those testing positive, and immediate isolation to prevent spread.
“The men and women of NJ TRANSIT have been an essential part of our frontline COVID-19 response efforts,” said Governor Murphy. “With increased access to testing, we can ensure the health and safety of NJ TRANSIT’s workforce and build public confidence in our mass-transit system, as our economy begins to reopen in the weeks ahead.”
“Maintaining the public transportation system to ensure essential personnel have a way to get where they are needed is critical, and the committed men and women of NJ TRANSIT are on the front lines doing their part to keep the trains and buses clean, safe, and running,” NJ TRANSIT Chair and NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. “Providing our employees access to testing is another way we can keep everyone safe and make sure those that need treatment get it as soon as possible.”
“There has been no higher priority at NJ TRANSIT than the health and safety of our incredibly dedicated employees. Providing access to a dedicated COVID-19 testing site is just another layer of protection we’re adding to the many proactive measures we’ve taken since the onset of this pandemic,” said NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin Corbett. “Our employees have continued to operate on the frontlines of this crisis in order to keep essential personnel moving through the region, and we’re pleased to be able to facilitate access to testing that will ultimately lead to quicker treatment and slowing the spread of the virus.”
“I would like to thank Governor Murphy for his understanding that testing is something all New Jersey citizens need. I am extremely appreciative that Governor Murphy understands that the frontline employees must be tested for this deadly virus,” says Smart-TD Local 60 General Chairman and President Jerome C. Johnson. “Smart-TD Local 60 members are most susceptible to catch this virus due to the nature of their respective duties. Governor Murphy's understanding and leadership will only help protect our members and passengers by making sure all essential employees are tested for the COVID-19 virus.”
“It’s great news that NJ TRANSIT will be testing all employees, particularly our members working on the frontlines. It’s imperative that we identify those individuals who are positive, in order to prevent further spreading of the virus and help those positive individuals get the care they need,” said ATU NJ State Council Chairman Orlando Riley.
“On behalf of the Members of PBA 304, the PBA would like to thank NJ TRANSIT, Agile Urgent Care and Accurate Diagnostics for partnering together to ensure that all members of the New Jersey Transit Police Department as well as our frontline employees from ATU NJ State Council, Smart-TD Local 60 and the other Rail Unions on property all operate in a healthy and safe environment,” said PBA 304 President Dan Whartnaby.
As a reminder, all staff and customers on NJ TRANSIT vehicles are required to wear face coverings per Governor Murphy’s Executive Order No. 125.
Due to the rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 response, customers are strongly encouraged to sign up for My Transit alerts and to check njtransit.com for the latest updates.
As an added precautionary measure to protect bus operators and customers, NJ TRANSIT has implemented rear-door boarding on all bus routes where rear-boarding is available. Seats near the bus operator have been taken out of service to allow for proper social distancing for the operator. Customers are encouraged to use the NJ TRANSIT mobile ticketing app or purchase paper tickets prior to boarding to limit cash transactions with the bus operator. Travel should be limited to essential personnel only.
NJ TRANSIT’s RESPONSE TO COVID-19
NJ TRANSIT continues enhanced cleaning efforts to include disinfecting vehicles every 24 hours. Hard surface cleaning and disinfecting typically includes handholds, arm rests, seating areas and restrooms.
Our enhanced cleaning regimen in stations includes additional disinfecting of frequent customer touchpoints such as ticket vending machines, handrails, door handles. In major stations and terminals, this occurs once every shift.
The cleaning agents used in this effort are deemed effective for these purposes and contain anti-viral components such as bleach/water mixes and other disinfectant sprays. Areas regularly cleaned include doors, door knobs, windows, benches, partitions, trash cans, elevators, escalators, handrails, ledges, all restrooms and floor surfaces and all floor mats.
NJ TRANSIT has a dedicated web page offering a centralized location to highlight the many initiatives the agency has undertaken to protect customers and employees against COVID-19. The web page, njtransit.com/COVID19, is available on both desktop and through the mobile app.
In addition to outlining the steps the agency has taken, the website also includes a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section. Posters reminding customers of best-practices to prevent the spread of germs have been installed on NJ TRANSIT vehicles throughout the system.
NJ TRANSIT is closely engaged with the New Jersey Department of Health and other state and federal resources to carefully monitor, and if need be, respond to emergent health concerns that have the ability to impact customers and employees.
The Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) offer the following preventative steps for the coronavirus: