Thursday, March 26, 2020

SMART buses offering free fares for all service

SMART will offer free fares on all SMART services, to eliminate the need for passengers to interact with  fareboxes and maintain greater distance from our drivers.  Free services include Fixed Route, FAST, Connector, Shuttles, Dial-A-Ride and ADA until further notice. 
SMART is continuing to operate full service until further notice.  However, fixed route bus service reductions will begin soon due to declining ridership. The reduced bus service is designed to maintain the existing geographic route coverage and similar hours of service with reduced frequency.  SMART will provide ample public notice prior to the reduction of service. 
 As a mission-critical public service, it is important to maintain some levels of transit service during this time.  This is especially critical for those who may not have access to transportation and need to get to dialysis appointments, the grocery store, and work - many of our riders use the bus to get to healthcare facilities. 
SMART will continue with the no-fare policy until further notice.  The unprecedented no fare policy was implemented to limit the exposure of drivers who are in constant contact with riders.  This is a safeguard to protect the health of employees and the riding public in preventing the spread of the virus. Additionally, riders are requested to distance themselves from other riders as best they can.
Additionally, SMART is enhancing the bus cleaning efforts, and implementing 'bus cleaning teams' in the field at key layover locations.  This is in addition to the nightly bus cleaning, the teams will be on the street to clean and sanitize high-touch areas throughout the bus and in/and around the driver seating area.  All disinfectants are CDC recommended industrial-strength antibacterial products.
SMART is doing everything reasonable to make it safe for passengers to continue to ride and prevent the spread of the virus, officials said in a prepared statement. SMART management is in close coordination with union representatives and continues to monitor the situation closely, the statement continued. 
Riders are also asked to maintain proper hygiene and if they feel ill to not ride the bus.
Passengers boarding and deboarding Fixed Route and FAST service will only be allowed through the rear door with the exception of wheelchair passengers and others who require the bus to kneel.  These individuals can board and deboard through the front door.  All ADA rules and guidelines will still apply during this time.
All SMART Customer Service representatives will have remote access in order to address any questions and schedule rides.  Call (866) 962-5515, from 6:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.