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Amid Outbreak, GRTC Maintains Normal Schedule

Bus at platform station
A Pulse bus pulls into a station. (Photo: GRTC)

The Greater Richmond Transit Company says it is prepared for the COVID-19 outbreak and will maintain full bus service for now.

The regional transit company has provided its staff with training on how to avoid transmitting any disease. Third-party contractors, like its fare enforcement officers, have also been trained. While the entire fleet of buses are normally cleaned every four days, spokeswoman Carrie Rose Pace said GRTC is planning to move to sanitize priority bus lines every day. 

That would include its CARE service, which provides van rides to seniors and people with disabilities.

“Many of the passengers that the CARE vehicles transport are the populations who may be most susceptible or most at-risk if they were to contract the COVID-19 disease,” Pace said.

Pace said GRTC is also looking to increase the cleaning frequency for the Pulse Rapid Transit line, which transports the most daily passengers. The transit agency could not provide a specific date for when the new cleaning measures would start.

GRTC is moving forward with the launch of its new Route 111 bus line on Monday, which will serve the Jefferson Davis Highway corridor and John Tyler Community College in Chesterfield County. A community celebration for the bus line’s opening on Sunday was canceled. 

Pace said while the bus system remains on a regular schedule they have a number of reduced service options they could use, including going to a Sunday schedule or a more reduced “snow schedule.” If that happens, bus drivers and other employees could still get paid.

“GRTC has an emergency fund for natural disasters and unexpected events like this so that we can still pay our people,” Pace said. 

The GRTC board would have to meet and authorize any use of the emergency funds. All GRTC board meetings for the month have been canceled.

The bus system is providing updates on its service schedule and COVID-19 precautions here.

All of our coronavirus coverage is at vpm.org/coronavirus