Even with a dramatic drop in ridership, Metro Transit is issuing new guidelines to maintain social distancing on buses and trains.
Metro Transit announced Wednesday that no more than 10 customers will be allowed on 40-foot buses, while 60-foot buses will have a maximum of 15 customers.
Buses at capacity will display a “New Bus Please” sign, letting customers know to wait for the next bus.
Only rides for essential travel are encouraged. This includes workers in essential jobs like healthcare, food, childcare and public safety. Essential travel also includes getting groceries or going to care for someone else.
Meanwhile, those who do ride are encouraged to wear masks or face coverings and use the rear door when possible.
In the a COVID-19 relief package passed by the Minnesota House – albeit not yet by the Senate – the Metropolitan Council would be given the authority to spend federal funds for personal protective equipment like masks and gloves for transit employees.
It was reported by WCCO this week that at least one Metro Transit employee has contracted the coronavirus, and more than 100 are in self-isolation.
According to Metro Transit, ridership has fallen significantly since the end of February. Since the last week of February, ridership on local buses has fallen by around 60 percent, while ridership on rail services has fallen by around 65 percent.
Express buses have seen the largest decrease at around 95 percent.
Metro Transit also cut services last month in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Light rail trains are operating every 20 minutes, while service has stopped completely between 11 p.m. and 4:30 a.m.