COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Millions of people worldwide use public transportation every day.
According to the American Public Transportation Association, Americans alone took almost 10 billion trips in 2018. But amid a pandemic, lots of things are different.
Metra buses are being cleaned multiple times a day to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Although ridership is decreasing because of people staying home, Metra is not reducing their options.
From the crack of dawn until just before midnight, Metra buses and their drivers are on the road in Columbus serving thousands of people on a daily basis.
“We normally average on a daily basis between 3500 to 4000 a day," Metra Director Rosa Evans said.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, Evans said ridership is down but that doesn’t mean they’re changing the routes they offer. They can’t.
“Public transit is very important for medical trips," Evans said. “People have to go to the doctor, they go to school. "So, where a lot of people have their own vehicle, the bus is the vehicle for people who need public transit.”
Instead of reducing route options or canceling certain trips altogether, Metra just added three new buses into rotation. In order to protect the public and its staff, buses are being sanitized multiple times a day.
“We spray the buses with disinfectant, wipe down seats, handrails, we have increased that level of cleanliness throughout our buildings and everywhere on a daily basis,” Evans said.
Although everyone is encouraged to stay at home if at all possible, Evans said riders can maintain their social distance on public transportation.
“We don’t have the standing room with people touching and with the ridership is decreasing somewhat. I have not seen it to be a major problem," Evans said.
Metra staff are staying in constant contact with city leaders and will keep the updated if they make any changes.