What to know about public transportation amid the coronavirus outbreak


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) —At the Regional Transit Center in Rochester, there are signs on the buses showcasing the new protocols in response to COVID-19, but for one worker who is considered an essential employee he is concerned about the safety during his daily commute.

Shawn Ferrell relies on the bus to get to and from work everyday. An employee at strong hospital, he is considered essential and risks losing his job if he can’t make it.

“Since I been catching the public transportation back and forth to work I have been feeling a little uneasy I had to cut down my hours for going due to the fact that the timing has changed due to the fact just not feeling comfortable and safe to ride on the public transportation,” said Ferrell, an employee at Strong Memorial.

Ferrell took these pictures during his commute.

He says some protocols put in place, like the yellow tape seen here to keep passengers away from the bus  driver, could be creating another issue.

“When got on the bus you are entering the bus from the back of the bus not from the front of the bus. There’s only but so many seats that you can sit in on the bus. They have part of the bus, from the middle to the front of the bus blocked off so you have not contact with the bus driver,” said Ferrell.

The Regional Transit service taken some steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including;

CEO Bill Carpenter says since COVID-19 pandemic started, ridership has dropped by 50% and buses are do what they can to keep people apart while riding.

“We believe we’re keeping our customers safe we’ve kept the same schedules of service so even though ridership is down by half, same number of buses are out there in fact our busiest routes we have extra busses. Trying to allow people to maintain a physical distance,” said Bill Carpenter, CEO of Regional transit service.

RTS has also temporarily waived bus fares for passengers, which has stopped passengers from interacting with the fare box, a tool that is used about 200 times per bus, per day according to RTS.

Signs throughout the bus center remind passengers of these rules and the use of personal protective equipment is encouraged for both drivers and riders.

“You see are employees with personal hand sanitizer, wearing masks. we encourage all the riding public to follow Dr. Mendoza’s guidelines and the county executive guidelines to wear a mask when in public,” said Carpenter.

Ferrell is hoping to get his car back, but for others in the community who rely on this transport he is hoping for a change.

“just making sure that these buses now from this point on have hand sanitizers somewhere on the bus and full re-filled on an everyday bases,” said Ferrell.

Leaders are saying to only take these bus trips to essential places such as the work, pharmacy or grocery store and to also use your own safety protocols to make sure you are protecting yourself and others.

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