- 10-person maximum per bus to go into effect March 25.
- More buses added to busiest routes to accommodate this need.
- Route 170 will not run 7:30 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. trips (these buses will be reassigned to peak-hour busiest routes.
In order to follow the guidelines in Asheville’s State of Emergency proclamation limiting gatherings to 10 during the COVID-19 public health emergency and to further enhance the safety for our drivers and riders, the number of riders per bus will be restricted to 10 people, including the driver.
The 10-person maximum will begin on Wednesday, March 25, and will continue until further notice.
In order to limit the number of people per bus to 10, it will be necessary for ART to add extra buses and drivers to higher ridership routes during peak hours so that passengers can spread out more effectively. Because of the limited number of drivers and available buses, adding capacity to one or more routes during certain times of day requires us to remove those buses and drivers from another route that has lower ridership.
As the COVID-19 public health emergency evolves, City transit and ART staff have been monitoring transit usage on all routes and evaluating options in order to minimize any impacts to the system and our riders. While we do not wish to inconvenience any of our riders by removing service from one area in order to add it to another area, we must strategically shift resources to where they are needed most.
Beginning Wednesday, March 25, Route 170 will not run its 7:30 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. trips until further notice. This will give the S6 route availability for overflow for the 7:45 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. trips.
Additional changes are likely to occur over the coming days as we continue to monitor ridership.
As a reminder, ART bus service is operating fare-free for now. Anyone at any stop can get on a bus and go where they need to go without payment. This measure minimizes possible exposure to drivers, riders and money handlers by not having riders need to purchase passes at the counter, not having them have to insert passes or money in the farebox, and not need to get transfer tickets from drivers. Because transit is a critical service, we are doing what we can to keep our ART drivers healthy — and driving.
Also, riders are now required to get on and off the bus using the rear door only, unless a rider needs to use the front-door wheelchair ramp or have the bus lowered to ease boarding. This is an additional measure to increase social distancing between drivers and riders.
Other preventive control measures implemented on ART buses include:
- Hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed in all buses. Additional dispensers are also placed in the station.
- Interior cleaning of buses and the station is occurring daily at a minimum, focusing on disinfecting frequently touched surfaces. For example, cleaning of buses interiors is focusing on stop request push buttons, poles, handles, fareboxes, door handles, etc.
- CDC COVID-19 informational posters have been put up in all buses in English and Spanish, as well as at the transit station.
There is coordination among transit providers to coordinate efforts to contain the spread of illness in our community and to promote awareness of those who might be at a higher risk of serious outcomes related to COVID-19. Decisions about the implementation of community measures are being made by local and state officials based on the scope of the outbreak and the severity of illness.
This is an evolving situation and information is often changing. For resources on prevention best practices and news updates, visit Buncombe Ready. Guidance is also posted on the Buncombe County Health & Human Services website.
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