Protective barriers go up at People’s Transit

PHOTOS BY ROXY STIENBLOCK/PLAINSMAN People's Transit executive director Gayle Kludt poses behind a protective panel around the driver’s area. In the second photo, Chris Hruby, left, and Justin Gabriel install protective barriers between passenger seats on a People’s Transit bus on Thursday.

HURON — Several of the larger transport buses utilized by People’s Transit received a safety upgrade on Thursday.

According to Gayle Kludt, People’s Transit’s executive director, five of the buses were outfitted with safety barriers that are located between the bus driver and passengers, but between the passengers as well.

“We did all five of the buses that we utilized in town right now,” Kludt said. “This is in addition to the barrier shields that were installed in our mini-vans.”

Kludt said that the biggest benefit of the barriers installed Thursday is that they are adaptable and adjustable to other vehicles.

“COVID really caused us to look at things differently,” Kludt said. “When we received the funding for protective barriers, getting barriers that would be able to be used in any different vehicle we would get is a tremendous benefit.”

Kludt noted that the barriers would also be beneficial during regular cold and flu season, as the drivers are separated from the passengers getting on the bus and the passengers are protected from casual contact when seated as well.

“When the CARES funding for transit companies became available we wanted to do everything we could to help protect our passengers and drivers,” Kludt said.

In addition to the Plexiglass barriers, Kludt said that People’s Transit has purchased a pair of electrostatic sprayers that drivers use at the end of their shift.

“The driver sprays down the interior of the bus with the disinfectant, then when he or she comes in in the morning, it is ready to go. During the day, of course, they are continually wiping down surfaces as well.”

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