Beginning April 6, Island Transit further reduced many of its Whidbey Island services in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
This is the second time Island Transit reduced its hours and area of operation since the health crisis began.
“The safety of the traveling public and our employees is the number one priority of Island Transit,” Executive Director Todd Morrow said in a press release.
Beginning April 6, Island transit suspend all Saturday Services until further notice, The Naval Air Station Whidbey Island route has been suspended and the number of trips on many currently operating routes have been reduced. Paratransit services to long-term care facilities have also been suspended with the exception of healthy patients in need of dialysis.
According to the press release, the ridership for Island County dropped by about 79 percent when compared to the same time last year.
Island Transit is also asking riders to follow safety guidelines. “We are operating as if any surface or person could be a possible carrier of the virus and we are acting accordingly by doing our best to protect people while maintaining essential transportation services,” Morrow said.
The guidelines ask passengers to cover their faces with bandanas or other cloth masks, wear gloves, observe social distancing on and off the bus, wash their hands before and after riding, and to enter the buses through the rear door. Island Transit also asks passengers not to travel if they feel ill.
“If you feel even slightly ill, do not travel on public transit,” the guidelines say.
In addition to the passenger guidelines, employees are also have new guidelines to combat the spread of coronavirus. Employees are asked to check their temperatures at home before they go to work. If they have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches or sore throat, Island Transit is asking its employees to stay home and contact their health care provider.
The buses and buildings are cleaned with Center for Biocide Chemistries approved disinfectant. The bus seats directly behind the driver’s seat in smaller vehicles have been blocked off and Island Transit is in the process of installing Plexiglas near the driver’s seats and in customer service areas.
“Island Transit’s first priority is the safety of our staff and the public,” Morrow said. “We are continuously working with Island County Public Health officials to follow their latest advisories on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
• To see the new route times and guidelines, visit www.islandtransit.org