Editor's Note: This article was written thanks to an questions submitted through Open Source. A reader asked about the status of Richland County Transit buses during the COVID-19 outbreak.
MANSFIELD -- Richland County Transit continues to operate bus routes during the COVID-19 outbreak, in thanks to the governmental recognition of the importance of public transportation during the "stay at home" order issued by Mike DeWine.
That order took effect Monday at midnight.
All services will continue with additional cleaning of vehicles and stations each day, according to Christine Terry, RCT general manager.
During the coronavirus outbreak, RCT asks riders to sit in every other seat when possible to maintain the desired social distance. If a bus is too full to follow these guidelines, Terry said a second bus will be sent to follow the full bus.
Terry said RCT has always cleaned the station and buses daily.
"We are now using antibacterial wipes to wipe down all areas on the buses and at our stations, we are paying close attention to any touch areas -- steering wheels, door handles, light switches, seating, faucets, counters and any other areas that need to be wiped down," Terry said.
"We are also using a Lysol disinfectant spray for all our seating and to spray in the air when we are complete with each area," she said.
Employees's temperatures are being checked when they enter the building for work. Anyone with a temperature above 100 degrees will be sent home, Terry said.
"We have passed out hand sanitizer, gloves, masks, antibacterial wipes and Lysol spray to drivers so that they may clean their buses during the day or when passengers are unloaded. We are keeping those supplies at the front desk to be handed out as they are needed by our employees," Terry said.
RCT has posted precautions at the transit center for drivers and riders. Any changes being made are posted at the transit center and on buses, she said.
"I hope everyone is staying safe," Terry said. "To my employees, I know who I can count on. Teamwork makes things so much easier. I want to thank them all for their hard work during this time."
Marc Daugherty, driving an RCT bus for three years, said he appreciated the levels of sanitation RCT has provided the staff, noting masks, gloves and hand sanitizer available for drivers.
"It still makes you nervous," the 23-year-old said. "I have a family and I hear people coughing on the bus. I use gloves and hand sanitizer, so I try to be safe."
He added his route, along Park Avenue West, see 50 to 60 riders daily on average day, but since the shut down, ridership is down to about 40.
"If you don't have to get somewhere," Daugherty said, "don't go."