March 19, 2020
Rochester, NY: Regional Transit Service (RTS) announced today that starting tomorrow, Friday, March 20, we will temporarily waive the requirement that customers pay a fare to ride the bus.
The Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA) 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 Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, Monroe County Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Michael Mendoza, and United Way of Greater Rochester President & CEO Jaime Saunders.
The waiving of fares will be in place at least through Sunday, April 19, 2020 or until the current State of Emergency is lifted, whichever comes first. RTS will assess the situation at that point, in coordination with local elected leaders and health experts, and make a determination on next steps. If a customer recently purchased a weekly or monthly pass and because of the Coronavirus they are not able to complete their intended trips, RTS will have a credit policy in place so that the credit can be used for future trips. The information about this policy will be posted to the RTS website when it is available.
Per the guidance set forth by Governor Andrew Cuomo and County Executive Bello, customers should stay home whenever possible and limit their travel to essential rides only, such as trips to work or the grocery store. Aside from making that critical travel easier, the waving of fares means we can reduce the amount of 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. 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. RTS also encourages customers to maintain a distance of six feet between each other on the bus, at the RTS Transit Center and at bus stops.
“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.”
“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,” said Mayor Lovely A. Warren. “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.”
“I can’t overemphasize how important it is for people to only go out when they must for health or safety reasons. When that happens, RTS is taking steps to make sure everyone can get to the essential places they need to go,” said Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza. “And I applaud RTS for taking measures to encourage social distancing to protect operators and passengers.”
"It is so important for people to have safe transportation to critical appointments and to get food and supplies, now more than ever," said Jaime Saunders, President & CEO of United Way of Greater Rochester. "We thank RTS and the City of Rochester for rallying together with United Way to make sure our residents are able to have critical access to community resources during this time."
“The number one priority at RTS is the safety and wellbeing of our employees and customers,” said RTS CEO Bill Carpenter. “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. I thank County Executive Bello, Mayor Warren, Dr. Mendoza and Jamie Saunders for their partnership and leadership. And I thank the entire team at RTS for their professionalism and commitment to public service during such challenging times.”
For all other information, visit www.myRTS.com.
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