CT commuters begin to return to struggling buses, trains amid pandemic, with safety measures in place

Coronavirus

NEW HAVEN, (WTNH)— Connecticut commuters are slowly returning to ride the rails and buses.  

Richard Andreski, with the Department of Transportation, says bus ridership dropped to about 55% and the rails took a big hit. 

CT DOT Bureau Chief, Richard Andreski said, “We saw a 95% reduction in ridership. So that means only 5% of the riders were remaining.”

The state has been awarded $224 million in federal COVID-19 funding from the Federal Transit Administration to help cover expenses such as operations, maintenance, and personal protective equipment for Connecticut rail and bus operations.

“We were in dire straits. Fair revenue dropped, it was down substantially. We are incurring higher cost to keep our system clean, as well as providing our frontline workforce with the necessary tools they need to be safe,” said Andreski.

The state could be eligible for millions more in grant money later this year. The president of Metro-North says it will keep the region moving. 

Catherine Rinaldi, the President of MTA Metro-North said, “All this money we’re getting from the federal government is enormously helpful in terms of being able to keep the organization going.”

Those who are back to commuting say they feel safe. 

Bernard Anderson told News 8, “Yes it’s really safe. They sanitize the bus and they get it correctly sanitized.” 

When commuting you have to wear a mask and you are encouraged to keep your distance from other passengers.

“It’s about keeping passengers safe, as well as the frontline workforce. So on buses we are installing clear barriers from the bus driver and the public,” said Andreski.

Metro-North is gradually adding more trains. June 15 there will be a schedule change to enhance peak hours. 

Rinaldi added, “People will have a lot more options with respect to their travel and it will be easier for them to practice social distancing.”

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