JTA end of the year review looks back on agency’s COVID-19 response

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Transportation Authority just wrapped up its end of the year review with a big focus on how it handled the pandemic during the last year and a half.

One of the biggest highlights was not only keeping everything running during the pandemic but helping the community.

On Tuesday afternoon, we caught up with Herbert Boykin as he was jumping on the number 15 bus so he could meet his wife where she works.

“They wouldn’t let me on without a mask and that’s what we need right now,” Boykin said.

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If it helps stop the spread of COVID-19, Boykin said he doesn’t mind wearing his mask.

JTA spent part of the morning looking back on the last 18 months when the pandemic first hit.

Under federal guidelines, employees must wear a mask at every JTA facility.

The company said it also worked hard installing partitions and workspaces and even shifting many of the employees to hybrid work schedules so they could work from home.

JTA also used its autonomous vehicles to transport COVID-19 test samples from the Mayo Clinic testing site to the hospital’s laboratory.

Mayor Lenny Curry even thanked JTA for offering rides to the community to COVID-19 vaccination sites.

“I’m grateful to Nat Ford and his team for stepping up and in this time of need for our community,” he said.

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JTA also helped local businesses struggling to make ends meet by placing large orders to feed its frontline employees.

Boykin said he’ll continue to be a loyal rider as long as those COVID-19 precautions stay in place, and he knows navigating the pandemic for any company isn’t easy.

“I think JTA is doing a wonderful job with the way things are the way we’re having to deal with change. Everybody’s having to change because of the pandemic,” Boykin said.