New Jersey’s Transportation Management Associations Respond to COVID 19 Public Health Emergency
Like many organizations, businesses, local, county and state offices, New Jersey’s eight Transportation Management Associations (TMAs), activated their Business Continuity Plans and moved staff to remote operations in mid-March 2020 in response to Governor Murphy’s Executive Orders to increase social distancing and stay at home.
New Jersey’s TMAs updated their websites to communicate the status of their remote operations and provide updated contact information. All TMAs also developed special COVID-19 Resource pages to keep the public updated on the status of transportation services and local public safety information for their services areas.
All of the TMAs have been leveraging social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube as communication tools to ensure that the public is being provided the most up to date information on the status of available transportation services and related community information.
Several TMAs have been involved in direct COVID-19 Response related activities:
Ridewise TMA (Somerset County) has been responding to inquiries from individuals in response to reduction of transit services.
Greater Mercer TMA (Mercer and Ocean counties) modified its “Ride Provide” Service that serves seniors and visually impaired individuals to “dialysis only” rides. TMA staff are continuing to reach out to all riders via phone to check on them and to allow for some contact and socialization. GMTMA is continuing to manage the ZLine and ZLine2 bus services, carrying Amazon employees and any other workers in the Matrix business park each day to distribution and sorting centers in Robbinsville. GMTMA also continues to provide management for the County’s Route 130 Connection bus that takes workers to warehouse and distribution centers along the Rt. 130 corridor in Cranbury.
EZ Ride TMA (Bergen, Essex, Union, Monmouth; parts of Hudson and Passaic counties) has suspended shuttle operations but is continuing to offer their Ryde4Life program, which brokers rides through Lyft and Uber.
goHunterdon (Hunterdon County) supported the Hunterdon County Office of Economic Development to survey employers to determine “immediate needs”, with a focus on small businesses/manufacturers.
Hudson TMA (Hudson County) assisted Hudson County Office of Emergency Management with outreach to the business community to request donations of supplies and to share COVID -9 updates.
Keep Middlesex Moving (Middlesex County) has been communicating with municipalities that offer shuttle services to stay informed on the status of service and sharing information with the public. KMM introduced new video and blog series that focus on bike safety for adults and children, walking activities, and tips for those who might be dusting off their bicycles for the first time.
Cross County Connection (Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties) continues to operate its south Jersey shuttles to serve those traveling to essential services including grocery stores, medical facilities and the food processing and manufacturing and fulfillment industries; many of which are hiring new employees. Social distancing and a cash free system have been implemented to protect drivers and passengers. A Guide to Public Transit During the COVID-19 pandemic was created for the south Jersey/Philadelphia region to enable the transit-dependent access to essential services. Additionally, as part of the Safe Routes to School program, virtual programs are being created to educate and engage students and parents about walking and bicycling safely. New content will also be created to assist employers with the implementation of telework programs.
TransOptions (Morris, Sussex, Warren; parts of Essex, Passaic and Union Counties) has been working with municipal partners on communicating transportation impacts and safety messages, and has been assisting employers with telework strategies.
While much of the day to day work of the TMAs involves direct community contact, TMA staff members have been modifying programs for remote application, including development of distance learning content and creation of informational and instructional for schools and communities on bicycle and pedestrian safety, distribution of resources to employers, including teleworking policies and best practices, and development of social media campaigns to keep the public engaged while at home.
Looking ahead, the TMAs will continue to develop content and remote content to share through a variety of social media platforms, websites, and ongoing communication with municipalities, county representatives, employers, schools, commuters and regional stakeholders.
On behalf of all eight of New Jersey’s TMAs, be well.