COVID-19 Response Program Information Collection FAQs
These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies. Grantees and subgrantees should refer to FTA’s statutes and regulations for application requirements.
- Accessing the Online Application
- Availability of Forms
- COVID-19 Data
- General Data Collection
- Purchased Transportation and Other Non-Directly Operated Service
- Section 5307
- Section 5311
- Service Modes
- Service Suspension and Reductions
- Transit Workforce
Accessing the Online Application
AOA1: Who can access the online application for reporting?
A: Certain users at your agency who report data to the National Transit Database (NTD) will have access to the online information collection application. This includes the following NTD users: CEO; CEO Delegate; NTD Contact; NTD Editor; Safety Contact; and Safety Editor. Each of these users can view, update, and submit reports in the COVID-19 Response Program Information Collection online application. NTD and Safety Viewers have read-only access to view the reports in the COVID-19 Response Program Information Collection online application.
APP1: Who is required to report?
A: The following agencies are required to report:
- Recipients and subrecipients of Section 5307 funds, including COVID -19 supplemental funds administered under Section 5307 that provide public transit service;
- Recipients of Section 5311(c) tribal transit funds, including COVID-19 supplemental funds administered under Section 5311(c) that provide public transit service; and
- Recipients of Section 5311 funds (State Departments of Transportation), including COVID-19 supplemental funds administered under Section 5311. State recipients of Section 5311 grants are required to report on behalf of their applicable Section 5311 subrecipients.
APP2: We report as a Reduced Reporter to the National Transit Database (NTD). Does this impact the reporting requirements for the Transit COVID-19 Response Program Information Collection?
A: No. There is no difference in the COVID-19 Response Program Information Collection reporting requirements for agencies that report to the NTD as Full Reporters and those who report as Reduced Reporters.
Availability of Forms
AVA1: Will we still be able to see our information after we submit our Recurring Form?
A: Yes, your agency will be able to view previously submitted Recurring Forms. Additionally, data captured on the Recurring Form is cumulative. Recurring Forms will be prepopulated with the values from your agency’s previous monthly Recurring Form submission. You will only need to update values that have changed.
AVA2: How do I make sure my form entry is stored in the online application?
A: Click “SUBMIT” to submit responses for the selected reporting period and to submit responses for additional reporting periods. Click “SUBMIT AND CLOSE” to submit responses to the agency landing page. Users are unable to save partial forms prior to submission.
Please keep in mind that the system automatically times out after 30 minutes without user input. Should the system time out, any information that is entered will not be saved unless the user has clicked either “SUBMIT” or “SUBMIT AND CLOSE”.
DAT1: Should we include remote workers and furloughed workers in our worker counts?
A: Yes. The worker count and COVID-19 data points include employees and contractors working full- or part-time, including those working at home and any employees and contractors on administrative leave or furlough.
DAT2: We don’t currently track COVID-19 data for our workers. Do we still have to report?
A: Yes. We encourage agencies to report data based on their current knowledge and understanding of the COVID-19 impacts on their organization.
DAT3: What is the difference between the criteria for COVID-19 positives and COVID-19 recoveries?
A: Worker positives are the total number of workers (employees and contractors, full- and part-time) that have tested positive for COVID-19. Worker positives do not include presumptive positives.
Worker recoveries are the total number of workers who have returned to work after an absence due to 1) a positive test result, 2) known exposure, or 3) a possible exposure.
DAT4: What information can a transit agency ask its workers to share regarding COVID-19 test results, symptoms, recoveries and vaccinations?
A: Transit agencies are required to submit information relating to worker COVID-19 test results, symptoms, recoveries and vaccinations to the extent they are able to compile such information consistent with applicable law. Transit agencies with additional questions regarding compiling this information should consult with their legal counsel and review guidance published by other government entities such as the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
General Data Collection
GEN1: Where can we find more information about the Information Collection and the online application?
A: FTA’s Transit COVID-19 Response Program Information Collection website provides links to a User Guide, fact sheets, previous presentation materials, demonstration videos and other resources.
GEN2: What are the consequences of not reporting or not meeting the deadline for reporting?
A: This is a mandatory reporting requirement as a condition of FTA funding assistance. Failure to report could result, for example, in a grant applicant being ineligible to receive further FTA financial assistance or restricted drawdowns of obligated grant funds until the reporting requirement is met.
Reporters who believe they may not meet the reporting deadline should contact FTASystemSafety@dot.gov to discuss their concerns.
GEN3: How often does our agency need to report?
A: Respondents will submit a Baseline Form once, and one Recurring Form per transit agency per month. These forms are due by the 15th of the month. If the 15th falls on a weekend, the form is due by on the following business day.
This applies to all respondents required to report to the COVID-19 Response Program Information Collection online application, regardless of how often they are required to report to the National Transit Database.
Purchased Transportation and Other Non-Directly Operated Service
PUR1: Do we report data for services we contract out?
A: Yes. Your agency will report data for both purchased and directly operated service. If your agency reports service information for a mode to the NTD, your agency should include that mode and the workers related to that mode in your reporting for the COVID-19 Response Program Information Collection. Your agency should include all workers that support the provision of transit service. This includes operators, dispatchers, maintenance workers, administrative personnel, and cleaning services involved in the provision of transit service.
PUR2: We use a contractor who provides service for another transit agency. Which of us should report transit workforce data?
A: Reporting agencies should report their total number of transit workers, including agency employees and any contractors. FTA recognizes there are circumstances where the same contractor may be included in more than one agency COVID-19 Information Collection online application form.
URB1: We are a recipient of Section 5307 funds and we have subrecipients who report independently to the National Transit Database (NTD). Which of us should report to the COVID-19 Response Program Information Collection?
A: Section 5307 subrecipients that report directly to the NTD will report directly to the COVID-19 Response Program Information Collection online application. Your agency should not include data associated with these subrecipients in your agency’s forms.
RUR1: We are a Section 5311 recipient. Do we include our agency in the reported numbers for our subrecipients?
A: Section 5311 recipients will report information for their applicable subrecipients. Section 5311 recipients who do not otherwise meet the requirements for reporting (i.e., do not count as an urban or tribal reporter) do not submit information on their own workforce.
RUR2: We report to the National Transit Database (NTD) directly, and we are also a Section 5311 subrecipient. Are we expected to report directly to the COVID-19 Response Program Information Collection online application or will the Section 5311 recipient report on our behalf?
A: If your agency reports urban transit service directly to the NTD, your agency will report directly to the COVID-19 Response Program Information Collection online application. The Section 5311 recipient will not report your data.
SER1: Does the COVID-19 Response Program Information Collection include dial-a-ride services and complimentary ¾ mile ADA service?
A: Yes. This information collection includes all public transportation services reported to the NTD. For more information on public transportation services reported to the NTD, you can review the NTD Reporting Policy Manual.
SER2: Do we report data by mode?
A: No. All data points cover the entire agency. For example, if your agency provides directly operated bus service, directly operated van pool service, and purchased ADA transit service, your agency will report the total numbers for all modes together.
Service Suspension and Reductions
SSR1: Our agency suspended one of our modes for a few weeks. Does this count as a service suspension for my Baseline Form?
A: No. Service suspension is an agency-wide data point. Only report “suspended” if your agency suspended ALL transit service across all modes for any length of time during the reporting period. Select “reduced” if your agency suspended transit service on one mode but continued to provide any amount of service on another mode.
SSR2: If we have not reduced our service but we have fewer riders, does this count as a reduction in service?
A: No. If your agency still provides the same levels of service as before the COVID-19 public health emergency, your agency has not reduced service, regardless of how many riders you have.
SSR3: We did not reduce our service hours, but we did reduce the number of people allowed onboard at one time. Does this count as a service reduction?
A: No. Operating at reduced seating capacity while providing service according to normal schedules does not constitute reduced service for the purposes of the Transit COVID-19 Response Program Information Collection.
SSR4: What is considered a normal level of service?
A: “Normal” refers to your level of operations prior to the beginning of the COVID-19 public health emergency on March 13, 2020. If your agency changes the level of service as part of normal seasonal service changes, a change in service is not considered reduced service for the purposes of the Transit COVID-19 Response Program Information Collection. However, if your agency changed to seasonal hours at a different time of year than usual in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, a change in service of this nature is considered reduced service for the purposes of the Transit COVID-19 Response Program Information Collection.
For example, if your agency normally begins a reduced summer service on June 1 and started that reduced summer service on June 1 as usual, that is not considered reduced service for the purposes of the Transit COVID-19 Response Program Information Collection.
If your agency normally begins a reduced summer service on June 1 and started that reduced summer service on April 1, earlier than usual, in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, that is considered reduced service for the purposes of the Transit COVID-19 Response Program Information Collection.
SSR5: We reduced our service in response to a budget shortfall due to COVID-19. Does this count as reduced service for the Information Collection?
A: Yes. If your agency reduced your level of service based on budget constraints due to COVID-19, this counts as a reduction in service for the purposes of the Transit COVID-19 Response Program Information Collection.
TRW1: Does “All Other Workers” include transit bus maintenance personnel?
A: All Other Workers includes any workers (both employees and contractors) who are not transit operators and whose work related duties do not qualify them as an Other Frontline Essential Worker. Other Frontline Essential Workers are individuals whose work related duties must be performed onsite and involve being in close proximity (less than 6 feet) to the public or to coworkers. If your transit bus maintenance personnel are able to maintain greater than 6 feet from the public or other coworkers, they should be counted under “All Other Workers”.
TRW2: Our staff numbers change frequently. Do we have to update our numbers every time they change?
A: No. Your agency will report numbers as of the end of the reporting period, each month. For example, for your first Recurring Form (due April 16, 2021), you will report numbers as of March 31, 2021.
TRW3: Should volunteers be included in data reported to the Transit COVID-19 Response Program Information Collection?
A: No. Your agency will report full and part-time employees and contractors. Your agency will not report volunteers.
VAC1: We are not tracking who has been vaccinated. How do we fill out our Recurring Form?
A: Agencies are required to track and report the number of workers not vaccinated unless prohibited by State or local laws. If your agency is legally prohibited from collecting this information, you should leave the “Number of Workers not Vaccinated” data point blank in the online application. The online application will allow users to submit their forms without filling out information relating to worker vaccination status.
VAC2: How do we report for workers who have had only one of their two COVID-19 vaccine shots?
A: The reported number of unvaccinated workers should include all individuals who have not completed all the vaccinations as part of their specific vaccination protocol. For a single-shot protocol, workers are considered vaccinated after receiving one shot. For a double-shot vaccination protocol, workers are considered vaccinated after their second shot.
VAC3: Which FTA funds should we consider when responding to the question: Has your agency used FTA funds to support vaccine access for transit workers or the public?
A: When responding to this question, an agency should consider vaccine access services the agency provides with support from Urbanized Area (49 U.S.C. § 5307) or Rural Areas (49 U.S.C. § 5311) Formula Grants; Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA) funds; and Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Program (49 U.S.C. § 5310) funds. See Frequently Asked Questions from FTA Grantees Regarding COVID-19 (question CE18) for more information on using this funding for vaccine access.
An agency should also consider vaccine access services the agency provides with FTA-funded transit assets, including vehicles and facilities, as an incidental use. This could include non-public transportation service (non-shared ride or closed door) to COVID-19 vaccination sites, or the use of transit vehicles and facilities as vaccination sites, as long as the services do not conflict with the provision of transit services or result in a reduction of service to transit passengers. See Frequently Asked Questions from FTA Grantees Regarding COVID-19 (question CE18) for more information on the use of transit assets for vaccine access.