Rochester’s Regional Transit Service on Thursday said it would waive all bus fares and enact a new procedure for entering and exiting buses through April 19 or until the current State of Emergency is lifted. The new procedures will begin March 20.
“At this point, everyone should stay home and practice social distancing at all times. However we recognize that some travel is essential,” Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said. “We are grateful RTS is ensuring everyone has access to transportation to get those essential items, such as food or medicine.”
The Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority board of commissioners approved today a resolution authorizing CEO Bill Carpenter to waive the payment of fares. Carpenter’s decision to implement the waiving of fares was made in consultation with Bello, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, Monroe County Commissioner of Public Health Michael Mendoza M.D. and United Way of Greater Rochester Inc. President and CEO Jaime Saunders.
The waiving of fares will make critical travel to work or grocery stores easier, while also limiting the time spent at the closest point of contact between bus operators and customers. To further promote social distancing and the safety of everyone on the bus, customers will now use the rear door to enter and exit the bus until further notice, officials said. Customers with mobility limitations who need to use the ramp to board the bus will still be able to do so through the front door by signaling the bus operator.
“My thanks to RTS for helping those in need during this crisis. By waiving bus fares for riders, our families will have more resources to obtain the food and supplies they need,” Warren said in a statement. “I ask that everyone continue to practice social distancing while using buses. Also, be mindful and limit your trips to only those that are essential for food and supplies. Together, we can and will overcome the challenge this disease presents.”
Added Carpenter: “The number one priority at RTS is the safety and well-being of our employees and customers. The best way we can support that is to incorporate responsible social distancing practices while providing safe and sustainable public transportation that people can rely on to maintain access to critical services in the community.”