Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) has installed new barriers to fight COVID-19.
A release says that the agency started installing 511 respiratory droplet shields throughout the bus fleet in mid-March, to help protect operators and passengers during the pandemic.
The shields are above and beyond enhanced cleaning procedures DART has undertaken for both buses and trains.
The new shields have been installed on 75 percent of the DART bus fleet, with the goal of full installation on the entire fleet of more than 600 buses before July 1.
Designed by DART Engineering, in collaboration with Fleet Maintenance & Bus Operations teams, the shields — called CV-19 Plexiglass Shields — are made of high-impact plexiglass and are being installed between the operator and passengers. Plexiglass is definitely a growth industry right now.
The new shield expands on DART's initial investment of Operator Barrier Doors, a plexiglass door that comes on all buses, which some operators would use to keep separated from customers. Its usage was optional. A DART spokesman says that most drivers left them attached to the bus wall behind their seat and never used them.
Those had a large gap at the top and sides. The new shield expands coverage towards the windshield and upward towards the ceiling.
In addition to the new barrier door shields, DART operators will now have: a sliding window; automatic passenger counters; and a new on-board battery management system.