Officials at SMART, have been forced to reduce service due to the spread of the omicron variant and COVID, according to a recent statement from the organization.
Officials said that about 20 to 25 percent of current service has been cancelled or delayed due to the lack of bus operators. While SMART staff members are updating daily service cuts/changes to real time arrival system they are also working to make changes to the existing bus schedule, officials said. “By scaling back service levels, riders will be assured of more reliable service to get to work or to other important destinations,” according to a prepared statement from SMART.
In the meantime, officials request that all riders check a real time arrival app, such as Transit app, for trip information and to be patient with the bus operators working hard to ensure that everyone gets to their destinations safely.
Since the pandemic began, SMART has worked to maintain bus service and ensure that people are able to get to work, school, grocery, pharmacy and other essential destinations safely, according to officials. However, the worker shortage has left SMART down approximately 80 bus operators and the service is only able to operate at about 75 percent of pre-pandemic level.
SMART officials have requested those who feel sick, or experience any flu, allergy or cold-like symptoms, to stay home. As required by the Federal Transit Administration, a mask is required for the entire duration of all SMART trips. Do not eat or drink while on the bus or participate in any other activity that requires the removal of your mask, they cautioned.
For more information, visit www.smartbus.org. Call customer care at (866) 962-5515 with new extended hours from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and 7:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.