Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT) announced today that they would be unanimously extending their no-fare policy, which has been in place for months in reaction to the coronavirus outbreak, through Sept. 5.
The goal of the program is to promote social distancing between drivers and riders by removing fare-box interactions, and to help people who are struggling financially but still need to use public transportation.
"At their regularly scheduled meeting Thurs., June 25, board members voted for the third time since the policy first went into effect March 20, just as confirmed reports of the coronavirus pandemic began surfacing in Tompkins County and across the state," a press release said.
By early fall, TCAT will install permanent protective barriers to separate drivers from the farebox equipment, said Assistant General Manager Mike Smith, who oversees TCAT’s operations and maintenance. Given the large number of transit agencies now purchasing these types of shatterproof, anti-glare glass shields, manufacturers have a backlog of orders. In the meantime, Smith said, TCAT will install temporary barriers in the coming weeks that will enable TCAT to resume collecting fares. (The TCAT board will review and vote whether to reinstate fare collection after Sept. 5 at its Aug. 27 meeting.)
As another protective measure, TCAT continues to stress that riders must wear face coverings or masks to board and ride the bus. Additionally, TCAT continues to adhere to strict protocols with the disinfection of buses and facilities used by employees and riders.
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