Modesto Area Express (MAX) is pleased to share its 10-Step Plan to keep riders safe on fixed routes, commuter express routes, and Modesto Area Dial-A-Ride (MADAR) services during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a plan that looks to the future while keeping our community front and center as the reason why MAX drivers get behind the wheel everyday.
March 11, 2020
The World Health Organization (WHO) declares COVID-19 a pandemic. The MAX transit team creates and promotes material to educate riders about the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) COVID-19 information and prevention recommendations. MAX also increases daily bus cleanings and adds more frequent disinfecting of high-use areas.
March 19, 2020
Governor Gavin Newsom declares a statewide shelter-in-place order. MAX establishes and promotes its Essential Travel and Social Distancing Policy.
March 26, 2020
To encourage residents to stay home, MAX informs riders of a planned schedule reduction. This schedule continues to provide residents access to supplies and essential service workers access to employment. No reductions are made to Modesto Area Dial-A-Ride (MADAR). In fact, MADAR begins allowing senior riders to book all non-medical essential travel in advance and temporarily removes the restriction that limits seniors to only same-say, space-available bookings. When possible, MADAR transports each passenger separately. This is done to ensure seniors and disabled persons have safe access to supplies.
April 3, 2020
MAX implements a free fare period to limit interaction between drivers and passengers while at the farebox. In addition, extra measures of protection are provided for MAX drivers. This free fare period also helped to provide financial relief to riders to complete essential travel for groceries, healthcare and employment.
April 15, 2020
Following recommendations from the CDC and Governor Newsom, MAX amends its Essential Travel and Social Distancing Policy to include the recommendation that riders and drivers wear masks or face coverings.
May 1, 2020
MAX launches a four-week social media campaign offering activities for children focusing on public transit (provided by Voices of Public Transit). The goal is to provide local parents and caregivers with learning-based activities during the last month of school during stay-at-home orders.
May 3, 2020
MAX extends free fares through June 30, and continues to promote social distancing, limiting travel to essential needs, and wearing facial coverings on all buses.
May 4, 2020
The MAX transit team amends its ongoing Driver of the Month program to launch MAX Heroes of the Month, a social media campaign showcasing essential workers making public transit in the MAX service area possible during the global pandemic.
May 5, 2020
MAX creates and installs COVID-19 stickers on each vehicle recommending all riders wear a mask and to not board if they have a fever, cough, or are feeling unwell.
May 12, 2020
Following Governor Newsom's announcement that some non-essential retail businesses would be allowed to reopen, MAX resumes its regular service schedule to ensure workers have reliable transportation to work.
May 21, 2020
MAX participates in Sound the Horn Day to honor transit workers across the nation.
June 10. 2020
A new Modesto Area Dial-A-Ride (MADAR) driver volunteers to transport a passenger who needed to be quarantined after exposure to COVID-19. The MADAR Driver of the Month program is born.
June 11, 2020
The state announces plans to reopen a variety of indoor businesses. MAX launches its popular Free Rides All July campaign to celebrate and welcome back riders after strict stay-at-home orders. Free Rides All July is funded through a grant from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) under the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP).
June 18, 2020
The state orders residents to wear masks when using public transit. MAX was waiting for this one and launches its #MaskUpMAX campaign on social media platforms and on-board bus posters. The MAX Essential Travel and Social Distancing Policy is updated to include the mask requirement. Masks are made available on all vehicles. MADAR establishes and promotes its mask requirements with ADA considerations. MAX updates vehicle decals to promote the mask requirement.
July 13, 2020
Governor Newsom pauses reopening measures and orders some businesses to close again. Understanding the financial impact this has on many of its riders and the necessity of maintaining social distancing as cases of COVID-19 in Modesto climb, MAX extends free fares through August 30, 2020.
August 7, 2020
MAX launches its #MaskUpMAX mask giveaway on social media to give 200 masks away to followers.
August 10, 2020
To help eliminate barriers during an increase in COVID-19 cases in the Modesto area, the City begins to offer free transportation to testing sites via MADAR.
MADAR also mails a Customer Safety Advisory to all frequent riders advising them of precautions in place to maximize their safety when riding the bus.
August 21, 2020
MAX launches the "We are in This Together" campaign which includes a 10-step plan to keep public transit safe and accessible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Collateral includes a MAX COVID-19 Response web page with downloadable flyers and frequently asked questions, a printed brochure, and social media engagement.
I rely on MAX for transportation and have really needed the services during the pandemic. As an essential service provider, I had to work during stay-at-home orders and MAX was how I got there and back. I’ve always felt safe on the bus because I know MAX cleans and sanitizes them constantly. I have been able to save so much money because of the free fares MAX has provided and that has helped my family so much during this difficult time
-MAX Rider Rosalee Holguin
The MAX COVID-19 response has helped me on a personal level. Because of the pandemic, I didn’t take summer classes and was not eligible for the Modesto Junior College student free fare program, so I am very thankful that MAX has made the bus free for everyone. It has been a big help to me financially. Even for the short time that MAX scaled service back, I was still able to ride the bus to work as an essential service provider. Also, I am impressed with how clean MAX is keeping the buses and appreciate the face mask requirement because sometimes people forget to cover their mouth and nose when they sneeze or cough.
-MAX Rider Jennifer Olson