MONROE, La. (04/15/2020) — Life as we know it has stopped and people are forced to find their new normal.
“We’re all struggling right now. Loss of income, we’re all waiting on that stimulus check, so any little bit helps.”Tracie Bishop, Frequent Monroe Transit Rider
Monroe Transit gives rides to 700,000 people a year, but thank’s to COVID-19, that’s all changed.
“It has been reduced by about 60% so ridership is really low right now,” said Monroe Transit General Manager Marc Kennan.
Even still, they’re turning their wheels to make sure they’re getting the job done safely despite this pandemic. Now, they’re riding with a new rule because transit users no longer have to pay. Monroe city council voted unanimously to waive the bus fare for all riders.
“We have enough funds that I think will last us some months, maybe longer. And hopefully, things get cleared up and folks get healed and they’re able to go back to work and things get back to normal,” said Kennan.
That’s thanks to the Care’s Act, which supplies federal dollars to businesses like Monroe Transit.
“The only thing I would worry about is maybe more people riding the bus and having more people congregating,” said Transit rider Tracie Bishop.
However, Monroe Transit has that covered too.
“We currently only allow 9 people on our buses at a time. Our buses are equipped with 34 seats.”Marc Kennan, General Manager of Monroe Transit
“I’ve already had a couple of times where I had to sit here for the next round of buses because they were full,” said Bishop.
Starting Wednesday, you can’t just walk on the bus through the front doors.
“To aid in the safe distancing a part of it is we’re going to have the passengers enter and exit the rear doors,” said Kennan.
Practices that loyal riders like Bishop say is a welcome change.
“I think anything where they can limit interaction to kind of help quell any transmission of the virus that would be a good thing,” she said.
The waived bus fare will last until Governor John Bel