For Immediate Release
March 18, 2020
For more information, contact:
CARRIE ROSE PACE – (804) 516-4148 – firstname.lastname@example.org
GRTC Suspends Fare Collection During COVID-19 Emergency
No fares will be collected on any service, including CARE, until further notice.
RICHMOND, Va. (March 18, 2020) – GRTC suspends all on-board fare collection and enforcement during the COVID-19 emergency effective March 19, 2020. Affected service includes all Pulse, local, and express commuter bus routes and all CARE services, except CARE On-Demand.
Bus passengers are instructed to enter and exit through the rear doors only and sit behind the accessibility-reserved seating area. Front-door access will be permitted only for passengers needing the boarding ramp or operator assistance to access the bus. ADA accessible seating space near the front of the bus is reserved for individuals in mobility devices, individuals in need of special assistance, and families with children in strollers.
GRTC Chief Executive Officer Julie Timm says, “In continuing service during this state of emergency, our first priority remains the safety, health, and financial well-being of our employees, their families, and our riders. By eliminating close interactions at bus fareboxes, we can better implement social distancing by avoiding interaction in this high contact space.” GRTC also added an additional Pulse bus to service so riders may spread out on more buses. The Pulse system still has high passenger loads despite overall decreased ridership.
GRTC provides lifeline employment and health connections for many of our riders and is the primary source of income for nearly 500 GRTC employees. Timm explains, “We take our obligation to provide that service very seriously. GRTC is closely monitoring updates on the COVID-19 virus spread in Virginia so that we may continue to take all reasonable precautions to address the risk and to maintain core service for the critical mobility and economic needs of our community. I maintain a high level of confidence in the safety of our service for our employees and our riders; however we are asking all riders to assist in protecting our service by eliminating all non-essential trips and following all recommended health precautions and social distancing.”
GRTC frontline staff, including Operators, Supervisors, Cleaners, and Mechanics, are taking every reasonable precaution to protect themselves and each other while serving the public. GRTC has doubled the frequency of cleanings on all vehicles. GRTC and RideFinders offices are closed to the public. All GRTC public meetings are canceled. For the most complete and latest GRTC updates during this pandemic, please visit our website.
GRTC is a public service corporation providing mobility services in the Greater Richmond area. GRTC’s current operational budget of $53.9M primarily funds daily mobility operations and vehicle maintenance. More than 9.25 million customers use GRTC’s services annually, and ridership is growing.