Operational Changes and Safety Measures During COVID-19

Columbia Transportation is working with our shuttle provider, Academy Bus; our black car service provider, Luxury; and our Evening Shuttle partner, Via, to update cleaning and safety protocols in light of COVID-19.

June 01, 2020

University Shuttle Buses

Following the measures recommended by experts and implemented by the MTA and NJ Transit, Academy cleans and disinfects the buses daily, paying special attention to high-touch areas. A hand sanitizer dispenser and wipe dispenser have been added to each of the shuttles. COVID-19 fact sheet signage has been placed at the shuttle stops.

In accordance with Executive Order 202.18, any person utilizing public or private transportation carriers or other for-hire vehicles who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face covering must wear a face covering over the nose and mouth during any such trip. Phone calls are not permitted on the shuttle buses as talking in enclosed spaces can spread the virus. Passengers should maintain at least a 6-foot distance between them while waiting at the stops and boarding the shuttle. 

As of May 2021, the prior capacity restriction on Columbia shuttle buses was removed in an effort to better accommodate the volume of Columbia affiliates returning to a reopening campus. This decision follows state guidelines and was reviewed and approved by the President's Advisory Task Force on COVID-19 at Columbia. All Columbia affiliates have committed to keeping the Compact, which includes a daily symptom self-check and periodic testing. Additionally, contact tracing data shows that transportation has not been a source of COVID-19 transmission on campus.

Black Car Service

State-mandated physical distancing rules require drivers and passengers to wear face coverings. When possible, the driver and passenger should maintain at least six feet of distance between them. Only passengers from same party can share a vehicle; otherwise, all rides must be limited to one passenger. Ventilation in the car will be set to non-recirculated air and drivers will keep windows down where possible.


In addition to only offering Private rides in accordance with physical distancing policy, Via has implemented a multi-faceted safety approach including:

  • Enhanced daily cleaning protocols with EPA approved disinfectants
  • Via HQ assisting Driver Partners in equipping vehicles with materials for regular disinfection
  • In NYC, riders and drivers must wear face coverings when in vehicle, even if socially distant
  • Drivers encouraged to enhance ventilation in the vehicle through the opening of windows
  • Drivers must self-monitor for temperature and symptoms before each shift
  • Riders and Drivers must each self-certify via the App that they are symptom-free and have not had a likely exposure

Via is further supporting the safety of Riders and Drivers by supplying Driver Partners with personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies free of charge and providing assistance with partitions and supplemental professional cleanings.