This article originally appeared in the August 2020 edition of Senior Scope.
The Southeastern Regional Transit Authority (SRTA), who operates the bus system in the Greater New Bedford region, continues to offer bus rides through the pandemic, though on a limited basis. Below are the latest updates from SRTA, including how it’s managing services during the pandemic and steps they have taken to ensure the safety of riders and drivers.
SRTA is providing transportation for critical trips only.
SRTA continues to offer bus services for the public, though on a limited basis and with an emphasis on safety. At this time, SRTA is providing transportation for critical trips only, which are defined as work-related, vital appointments, or necessary shopping trips. All riders must be traveling to a critical, essential destination.
All riders are required to exit the bus at the end of the route, or your stated destination, and may not re-board the same vehicle for a return trip. Multiple or consecutive round trips are not permitted and riders who appear to be loitering will be asked to deboard.
Riders are strongly encouraged to wear a medical or cloth mask that covers the nose and mouth, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, while on board a SRTA vehicle. Visit cdc.gov for a tutorial on making your own cloth face cover and important information on how to wear a face cover.
Riders are asked to follow social distancing guidelines while riding the bus and to maintain proper spacing when seated.
For your health and the health of others, if you are feeling sick, have a cough, fever, or other flu-like symptoms, do not ride the SRTA bus.
Trips are limited, but fares have been waived.
At this time, the bus fare for essential, critical trips has been waived. SRTA will continue to waive bus fares for essential, critical trips until further notice.
What measures are being taken to keep passengers safe?
SRTA is especially focused on safety. SRTA buses are sanitized nightly after service, and high touch points are sanitized throughout the day at terminals during layovers. Touch points within the terminals are also being sanitized regularly.
Bus fare has been temporarily suspended, in part, to eliminate a major touch point that typically all customers touch.
SRTA will provide face masks to customers.
In accordance with Governor Baker’s executive order, SRTA requires that customers wear a face mask while riding public transit. For those customers that do not have a mask, SRTA will provide you with a mask. There is a limited supply of masks on hand, so riders are asked to be respectful of other customers and only take a mask if you are unable to provide one of you own. If you need a mask, just ask.
What measures are being taken to keep drivers safe?
To keep drivers safe, SRTA has reduced service to limit the number of drivers interacting with the public daily. On buses with two doors, riders are asked to board from the rear doors to help maintain a safe distance between passengers and drivers.
The wheelchair securement seats have been reserved for only when a mobility device needs to be boarded through the front doors. Bus fare has been waived to help limit contact between drivers and passengers.
Where can I find up-to-date information about SRTA services?
The SRTA website is your best resource to stay up-to-date on changes to service due to COVID-19.
Follow SRTA on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/SRTAbus.
You can call SRTA’s office line at 508-999-5211 during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.