August 19, 2020

Ellen Wu, (510) 710-7870
Bob Allen, (415) 596-2459

Release of Healthy Transit report fails to address worker and rider safety

Since March, Urban Habitat and other members of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s (MTC) Blue Ribbon Transit Recovery Task Force have repeatedly asked the MTC to issue region-wide health and safety standards to protect transit workers and riders across the Bay Area’s two dozen transit agencies. During this pandemic, COVID-19 has sickened and killed transit workers who are helping essential workers to get their jobs. Advocates, organizers, transit workers, and riders have demanded a set of strong, uniform standards, including the provision of masks and hand sanitizer for every rider.

MTC’s long-overdue Bay Area Healthy Transit Plan released today fails to require a set of clear standards that every Bay Area transit agency should be responsible for implementing. Instead, the report, prepared by a working group of Bay Area transit agencies, documents practices that have already been adopted and outlines the individual responsibility of riders to ensure safety on public transit.  

“This report does not provide clear regional standards to ensure the health and safety of transit workers and riders,” said Urban Habitat’s Executive Director Ellen Wu, who is a member of the MTC Blue Ribbon Transit Recovery Task Force. “Transit workers and essential workers who rely on public transit are paying a disproportionately heavy price during this pandemic, the majority of whom are low-income people of color.”


Urban Habitat works to democratize power and advance equitable policies to create a just and connected Bay Area for low-income communities and communities of color. We confront structural inequities impacting historically disenfranchised communities. Through strategic partnerships, we support increasing the power and capacity in low-income communities and communities of color.