By Tom Travis
Since April 1, Flint’s Mass Transportation Authority (MTA) buses have sat silent and unused in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. As of 6:30 a.m. Monday morning. the buses are back at it, running all primary routes on fixed half-hour schedules. A map and schedule of all Flint MTA primary routes can be viewed here.
The MTA Transit Center downtown station was busy Monday morning, buses going in and out of the 14 primary routes’ loading and unloading areas. Extra security was visibly present: five masked security guards inside and outside the downtown station. Also, added staff were at work, dressed in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) garb, sanitizing buses after each trip.
Riders are asked to enter and exit through the rear door of the bus. A mask is required to ride the bus, with masks available free from the MTA if a rider does not have one.
Adaptations in place for social distancing
EVM spoke with a masked Derek Williams, Director of Operations at MTA, in the downtown bus station. Williams said the benches that usually sit in the center of the station have been removed to encourage social distancing. Williams also said MTA had “back up buses” in case a bus became overloaded.
“If there are any buses that report overloading, we have back up buses that can go and alleviate overloading for social distancing,” he said.
Looking to the future, Williams predicted, “We think that within a week we should see numbers that will have us at full capacity. It’s going to take a couple of days for the customers to realize that the buses are back out on the street. But then we should see numbers that will be back at full capacity.”
Rides to Wellness will resume June 1st. More information about Rides to Wellness can be found by calling 810-780-8946 or by going to the MTA website.
EVM Assistant Editor and reporter Tom Travis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.