BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The latest on Birmingham MAX Transit operations and safety concerns due to COVID-19 pandemic:
On Tuesday morning, all MAX Transit operators are expected to return to their scheduled routes throughout the city of Birmingham.
The Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority (BJCTA) announced at this time, they will not be canceling services on any routes. They also announced they were able to obtain masks for drivers Monday.
There are currently 20 buses in service. Due to the coronavirus pandemic seats have been blocked on the buses only allowing 15 to 19 passengers to board, depending on bus size. Additional buses will be available to facilitate the needs of all passengers, the BJCTA reports. If a bus has reached its new capacity and more passengers need to board, the bus operator will inform them that another bus is following up to pick them up.
This development comes as businesses are urged to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
More changes have been made to ensure the safety of all passengers and the bus operator. MAX Transit passengers are now being asked to use the rear door when boarding and exiting the bus. Customers who require the use of wheelchairs may continue to use the front door for access. The BJCTA has also suspended bus fares temporarily for riders amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision comes at a time when the BJCTA’s top priority is the safety and wellbeing of operators and riders. Suspending fares reduces overcrowding at the farebox and limits exposure to passengers and bus operators.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Bus trips across Birmingham may be delayed Monday morning due to drivers refusing to work over safety concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday morning, different drivers for the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority stood outside their vehicles on Reverend Abraham Woods Jr. Boulevard, refusing to load buses due to safety concerns over the coronavirus due to not having being provided any safety masks by BJCTA.
Myrna Pittman, public information officer for BJCTA, said that right now, the drivers have gloves, but not masks.
“As we all know, this is a major issue throughout the world, not having masks, and we’ve been trying to get those and hopefully, we will be receiving them shortly,” Pittman told CBS 42’s Hillary Simon Monday morning.
Pittman said that if BJCTA can get safety masks, they will expect the drivers to continue their normal routes for the day. She added that BJCTA cares about the drivers’ safety and are looking for ways to make things better for them and for riders.
“One of the things we’re doing is blocking off access to the operators and we’re going to ask our passengers to come in through the rear door instead of the front door,” she said.
Pittman also said that for the time being, there will be free fares for riders.
BJCTA employs 104 bus operators who work six routes in the city. There are also 40 Paratransit drivers who take appointed routes.
This story will be updated as more information is released.
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