GRTC eliminates fares; asks riders to take only essential trips
Jeremy M. Lazarus | 3/19/2020, 6 p.m.
GRTC is no longer charging to ride.
In a bid to protect its drivers and other employees from the spread of coronavirus, the transit company announced that it will stop collecting fares from passengers using Pulse, regular and express buses and CARE van service, effective Thursday, March 19.
The company has kept its buses and CARE van operations running and stepped up cleaning of buses to help reduce the spread of the disease.
Eliminating fares is the company’s latest precaution.
GRTC stated that most riders would need to enter and exit through the rear doors to reduce close encounters between passengers and operators at the fare box. Only individuals with walkers or in wheel- chairs who might need driver assistance, and families with children in strollers, will be allowed to enter through the front doors to access the designated seating up front, GRTC stated.
“We are continuing service during this state of emergency, but our first priority remains the safety, health and financial well-being of our employees, their families and our riders,” Julie Timm, GRTC’s chief executive officer, stated in Wednesday’s announcement.
“GRTC provides lifeline employment and health connections for many of our riders and is the primary source of income for nearly 500 GRTC employees,” Ms. Timm noted.
“We take our obligations very seriously,” she continued. “GRTC is closely monitoring updates on the COVID-19 virus spread in Virginia so that we may continue to take all reasonable precautions to address the risk and to maintain critical mobility to meet the needs of our community.
“We are asking all riders to assist in protecting our service by eliminating all non-essential trips and following all recommended health precautions,” she stated.