HRT suspends transit fares during COVID-19 crisis


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Hampton Roads Transit will temporarily suspend all service fares beginning April 10.

HRT’s governing board voted to suspend service fares to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Riders will no longer have to interact with transit operators or touch fares boxes when traveling, which HRT hopes will protect them from the disease.

“That’s the whole purpose of this funding is to provide relief to transit properties because we are a essential service and any appropriate expenditures to provide service during this period we certainly have the benefit of those resources,” said a leader during the meeting on Thursday via phone.

This is in an effort to limit social contact with the operator, fare box amongst other touched objects on a transit.

“We’re doing electrostatic cleaning which is the kind of cleaning that happens in clean rooms and hospitals we’re doing that in every occupied facility ever transit center every bus and every para transit vehicle,” said a leader on the call.

Theyre stepping up cleaning everywhere.

“We’ve enhanced the cleaning in all of our facilities during the day and that is wiping down the frequently touched surfaces and of course that includes our ticket vending machines,” they added.

The suspension will be in place until June 10, unless HRT’s governing board decides otherwise.

State and federal COVID-19 emergency funds will be used by the Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads to pay for each participating city’s budgeted ridership while fares are suspended, according to a HRT press release.

Although HRT ridership has dropped during the COVID-19 pandemic, some people still rely on public transportation to get to work, medical facilities, and stores. HRT is asking customers to wear face masks when traveling, limit their travels to essential trips only, and board and exit buses at the back when possible.

HRT has also blocked off seats to encourage social distancing and increased cleanings of all surfaces on buses, light rail vehicles, ferries, and transit centers to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

HRT is still operating, but at reduced hours. Learn more about HRT’s “Essential Service Plan” and current transit schedules here.

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