May 27, 2020

(6/11/20 UPDATE) Rapid Transit System Set To Resume Operations After Two-Week Suspension For COVID-19

RAPID TRANSIT SYSTEM SET

TO RESUME OPERATIONS

Public Transit Service Returns Monday

With Reduced Hours, Days of Service

RAPID CITY, SD (June 11, 2020)--The City's public transportation system - Rapid Transit System - will resume operations Monday (June 15) with reduced hours and days of service.

            Rapid Transit System (RTS), including RapidRide and Dial-A-Ride services, suspended operations Saturday, May 30 after three drivers tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

            Beginning, Monday, RTS will operate on a reduced schedule.  RapidRide, which provided public transportation on six different fixed routes, will operate from 7:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Dial-A-Ride, which provides services to local residents with disabilities, will operate from 7:20 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

            There will be no Saturday operations for either service.  The changes are effective beginning Monday until further notice.

            "During the past two weeks RTS has gone through an extensive cleaning process including our buses, the RTS bus barn and the Transportation Center," said RTS Manager Megan Gould.  "We are excited to resume operations and welcome and encourage the public's participation."

            Gould said social distancing and hygiene practices, which were in place since March and up to the time of the shutdown, will remain in place.  The social distancing and hygiene protocols include a six-foot distance between passengers, limited passengers on the buses, hygiene requirements including washing hands with sanitizer. 

            Drivers will e required to wear a mask and Gould said the public is "highly recommended" to wear masks on the bus.  Masks will be available on the buses.

            City officials indicate passengers who purchased passes for June prior to the closure on May 30 will be provided half-price passes for July.

            For more information, contact Rapid Transit System at 394-6631 beginning Monday.

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(Below is the May 27 City news release)

CITY SUSPENDING RAPID TRANSIT SYSTEM

AFTER THIRD DRIVER TESTS COVID-POSITIVE

Two-week suspension begins Saturday;

Will allow for thorough cleaning

of RTS buses, facilities

RAPID CITY, SD--The City's Rapid Transit System will suspend operations for two weeks effective this Saturday (May 30) due to a third positive test among the System's drivers.  The announcement was made by Mayor Steve Allender at this afternoon's weekly press conference.

            The suspension affects RapidRide, which operates buses on six fixed-route systems in the city, and Dial-a-Ride, which provides transportation services to local residents with disabilities.  City officials indicate the suspension in services will allow for a detailed cleaning of RTS buses and facilities, including the Milo Barber Transportation Center and the RTS bus barn, located on Centre Street.

            "We are obviously concerned with the string of positive tests affecting our RTS drivers," said Mayor Steve Allender.  "All of the drivers who have tested positive have been wearing masks, social distancing and following hygiene protocols. There is minimal or no interaction between RTS drivers and passengers.

            "The suspension will allow the buses and facilities to get a thorough cleaning.  As with the previous two positive tests, we are sharing the dates, times and routes the driver took, which will allow riders to self-monitor for symptoms and seek medical advice or attention if they experience any issues."

            RTS officials indicate the driver wore face masks during his shifts and his last shift was Thursday, May 21.  He began experiencing symptoms last Friday and did not work after Thursday's shift.  He was tested for the COVID-19 virus this weekend and was notified of a positive test result last evening (Tuesday). RTS officials were notified by the driver of the positive test this morning (Wednesday).

            The employee drove RapidRide on the following dates, times and routes:

DATE:                       TIME:                                    ROUTE:

Monday, May 18        6:20 a.m.-Noon                       Coolidge Route

Tuesday, May 19        6:20 a.m.-2:20 p.m.                 Jefferson Route

Wednesday, May 20   6:20 a.m.-1:15 p.m.                 Lincoln Route

Thursday, May 21       6:20 a.m.-Noon                       Washington Route

            Anyone riding the RTS system between today and Saturday will be notified of the two-week suspension in services.  The City will also be communicating the suspension action through local media and online social media sources.

            "While public transit services will be unavailable during this time, there will be a need for transportation in the community," said Megan Gould, Rapid Transit System manager.  "If you know a family member, friend or neighbor who might benefit from a ride to the doctor or the grocery store, provide that assistance, or offer to run an errand for a disabled neighbor."

            Today's decision comes three days after the City notified the public of a second driver testing positive for COVID-19.  On May 16, South Dakota Department of Health officials announced the first positive test result among a Rapid Transit System driver.

            City officials anticipate public transit services will resume Monday, June 15.

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Thank you,

Darrell W. Shoemaker | Communications Coordinator

T: 605.721.6686 | M: 605.939.8551

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

W: www.rcgov.org

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