PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Valley Metro says it continues to offer service on a regular schedule, but it's making some changes riders need to know about.
At this point, bus riders will be most affected by Valley Metro's new safety measures. You won't be using the door at the front of the bus and drivers will not be collecting your fare.
"Bus riders are asked to board from the rear door to enhance the distance between operators and passengers," Valley Metro said Saturday. Be prepared to hold up your ticket for the driver to see. "Passengers will still be expected to pay and have evidence of a valid fare. We will evaluate this temporary measure through the month of April," spokeswoman Susan Tierney told Arizona's Family.
Because bus passengers will not have access to the on-board fareboxes, they will need to purchase their fare ahead of time at a fare vending machine, participating retailers or online. If you go to a retailer, please call first to make sure that they are open.
"Public transportation is critical to our community," Tierney continued. "Our team recognizes the nature of the service we provide and remains committed to doing so until we are unable to or forced to stop. This temporary procedure will enhance the safety protocols currently in place and further protections across our system for operators and passengers. We understand that there are many passengers, especially health care and janitorial workers, that rely heavily on our transit system to get to their jobs. We urge only essential travel during this time. This concern is why are taking the additional step to create a safe distance between our operators and passengers."
Beginning Monday (March 23), Valley Metro is closing the customer-service windows at the Central Station (Central Avenue and Van Buren Street), the Ed Pastor Transit Center (Central Avenue and Broadway Road), the Sunnyslope Transit Center (Third Street and Dunlap Avenue) and the Metrocenter Transit Center (Metrocenter).
"Various options for purchasing fares remain available to passengers, such as ticket vending machines located throughout light rail platforms, at participating retailers or online," according to ValleyMetro.org.
The Mobility Center at 4600 E. Washington in Phoenix will be closed starting Monday, as well. Also, public access to the Public Transit Department offices at 302 N. First Avenue will be by appointment only. That includes the Business and Workforce Development Center across from Central Stations.
To make an appointment with Public Transit, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 602-262-7242. To make an appointment at the Workforce Development Center email email@example.com, or call 602-256-3147.
Valley Metro says in addition to regular cleaning, it is fogging its buses and light rail cars once a week. "Fogging is a higher quality cleaning process to reduce germs from spreading and living on high touch areas," according to its website. "The high-touch areas (stanchions, handrails, seat rails and fareboxes) in buses are wiped down nightly, except for the day the bus is fogged. The buses are now being disinfected daily as well. Floors are vacuumed and mopped, seats are cleaned and walls are wiped down regularly."
Valley Metro says the fare machine, handrails, water fountains, call boxes, seats, and armrests at the light rail stations are "cleaned daily and disinfected."