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ValleyRide stops collecting fares, closes front door of buses – could cut service

Tamarack: Thrill, Grill, Chill

Valley Regional Transit, which operates the ValleyRide bus service, put several new measures into place over the weekend in light of the COVID-19 situation.

VRT will no longer collect fares on its buses, and asks passengers to enter through the door in the middle of buses. THe step helps keep passengers and drivers apart to help with social distancing guidelines.

The agency also asks passengers to sit as far apart on the buses as possible.

[ValleyRide will swap some older gas buses for newer no-emission electric models]

A set of route changes set to take effect on March 30th will no longer happen on schedule. The changes would have boosted Saturday service hours, extended hours on the Broadway bus route and added service to the city of Eagle. VRT says it will roll out the service changes “after the COVID-19 crisis has passed.”

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“It is a prudent decision at this time not to implement and promote the service improvements during the COVID-19 crisis,” VRT principal planner Stephen Hunt said. “We are excited about providing these service improvements to our riders, and they will be implemented as soon as we are told it is safe to encourage travel again.”   

Ridership on buses already dropped an average of 25%, with some routes seeing larger declines. Planners could cut some routes if ridership continues to drop.

“We want to continue providing service to those who rely on our buses to get to and from work,” VRT executive director Kelli Badesheim said. “That’s why we will prioritize those routes serving the most people.”

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