ROANOKE, Va. – Starting Thursday, Valley Metro will establish a limit of nine passengers on buses at any one time.
This policy is an additional precaution in order to further encourage social distancing while using public transportation.
“We realize that people need access to food, groceries, employment, and medical appointments," Valley Metro General Manager Kevin Price said. "We want to do our part to keep that going.”
Once a bus hits capacity, the driver will not be able to board any more passengers until the count is below nine.
To assist with capacity, Valley Metro said it will be running additional buses.
To facilitate the availability of having additional buses available, peak-hour service will be suspended.
Fixed route buses will operate on an hourly schedule during the service day and the Starline Trolley will operate on a 15-minute schedule during the service day.
“It’s been a challenge," Price said. "I don’t think anyone in my age group has dealt with a pandemic before, so we’re adapting quickly, and I think we’re doing a good job up to this point.”
Smartway will operate on the normal schedule.
All Valley Metro passengers are encouraged to plan ahead, as the bus may reach capacity before arriving at your stop. Individuals are asked to only take essential trips on Valley Metro during this time.
Valley Metro also provided answers to some frequently asked questions
What happens if a bus arrives at a stop with nine passengers already on board. Will that bus be able to pick up any additional passengers?
No. The plan is to reallocate the operators and buses from the peak service to assist in any overloads as a result of the nine-passenger limit. Buses used to handle any passenger overloads will operate, to the extent possible, behind the scheduled route bus.
Will all scheduled buses have an extra bus to handle overloads?
No. Using available resources, an additional bus will be assigned to routes with historically higher ridership. There will be the ability, to the extent possible, to dispatch a bus to the location where pick-up was not possible in a reasonable amount of time.
Will ADA passengers using a mobility device be denied service if the passenger count is at nine passengers?
No. The ADA sections on the buses will not be affected. ADA boardings will be as normal.