LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Lextran buses will reduce their capacity for passengers starting on Sunday in response to Governor Andy Beshear's latest COVID-19 restrictions.
Lextran officials say fixed-route buses will be reduced from 50% capacity to 33% capacity onboard beginning on Sunday. If a bus is at capacity, passengers will be asked to wait for the next available bus or a relief vehicle.
The decision to knock capacity down by 17% is directly related to the coronavirus crisis, which is once again hitting central Kentucky in a big way. But Lextran has set up a system, which might allow riders to avoid being inconvenienced.
"We'll have one bus following behind another bus," he explained. "That'll help ease the demand so we can carry everybody we need to carry at the time we're scheduled to be there," Combs said of what they call "shadow service." Staffing to pull that off is what makes it costly.
But Lextran fares will remain free of charge through the end of the year. Collecting fares won't begin until January 4. It's something the city did for its riders once the pandemic hit and job loss were (and remains) widespread.
"It's a service we know is essential for a lot of folks, so we want to be there when they need us," Combs said.
Combs added that ridership is traditionally lower during the winter months, especially when the University of Kentucky goes on its winter break. That alone will help ease any burden passengers might feel while capacity remains below 50%.
Passengers are encouraged to download the MyStop mobile app to track onboard passenger counts in real-time to help plan their trip.
Rear-door boarding will remain in effect on all Lextran buses. Facial coverings will be required onboard buses and at Lextran facilities. Passengers and employees are encouraged to practice social distancing whenever possible. Lextran says vehicles and facilities are being cleaned and disinfected frequently to protect the community.
Passengers are also encouraged to sign Lextran's Trust in Transit Safety Pledge to indicate their commitment to healthy transit service. Lextran will provide a free and reusable facemask to all participants of the Trust in Transit Safety Pledge.
Lextran says they reserve the right to extend, amend, or modify plans as needed to protect public health.