RTA announces COVID vaccine mandate plans
For Immediate Release
MEDIA CONTACT: Jessica Olson (937) 425-8352, Communications Manager
(DAYTON, Ohio)— While the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority (RTA) continues its efforts to promote a healthy work environment by encouraging its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the agency is working on plans to modify its service in preparation for a proposed federal vaccination mandate.
Since the vaccine was first approved, the agency worked diligently to get its staff fully vaccinated, both to keep them healthy and to be ready if a proposed federal vaccine mandate were to take effect. This includes incentivizing vaccination prior to any federal requirement, including offering in-house vaccination clinics, Essential Worker Paid Time Off, and a cash bonus to any employees who started the vaccine process by Oct. 31, 2021. While the federal government has not yet published the federal vaccine mandate rules, they have published a vaccine compliance date of December 8th for those who receive federal funds. As of Sunday, 74% of the RTA team is fully vaccinated. An additional 5% of agency employees reported they are in the vaccine process, for a total of 79%. This breaks down by RTA work groups as follows:
- Bus Drivers - 79%
- Fleet/Facility Maintenance - 61%
- Administrative Staff - 90%
“While we hope that 100% of the RTA team will be vaccinated and incompliance with any mandate, we have to plan in case that does not happen,” said Bob Ruzinsky, RTA CEO.
RTA is creating operating plans to run its current Saturday service schedule through the week, Monday – through Saturday, which would reduce frequencies on some routes and require less bus drivers to operate. Those routes that don’t operate on Saturdays would continue on their current schedule. Sunday service would not be impacted. These changes would ensure RTA has enough vaccinated drivers to provide limited services.
“These are certainly challenging times and we know our riders will be impacted by these possible changes. We want them to be prepared so they can start making their own transportation contingency plans,” Ruzinsky said. “We do not want folks stranded due to staffing issues, like they are in many airports today.”
The RTA will continue to promote vaccination for its employees ahead of any federal requirements. Should the agency need to execute plans to reduce service as a result of these requirements, RTA leaders said they will provide the public with at least a week notice before implementing changes. The agency is already requiring a completed COVID vaccine for all new hires, and will continue to actively recruit and train bus drivers looking for a career driving for RTA.