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RTC reducing residential bus service amid 30-day Nevada shutdown

Updated March 23, 2020 - 3:53 pm

The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada is reducing residential bus service following decreased ridership after Gov. Steve Sisolak’s mandated 30-day shutdown of all nonessential business in Nevada.

The transit system will operate on a Sunday schedule seven days a week beginning Sunday until further notice, the RTC said in a news release.

A Sunday schedule varies route-to-route but typically offers less frequency to reflect lower ridership and less traffic congestion.

In addition, service on the Westcliff Airport Express (WAX) and Centennial Express (CX) service will be suspended.

“We are glad that Southern Nevadans are staying home during the 30-day closure of non-essential businesses, and as a result, ridership on transit is decreasing,” said Francis Julien, RTC deputy CEO in the news release. “Consequently, we are adjusting our transit service to a Sunday schedule and suspending two express routes that typically carry commuters traveling to McCarran International Airport, the Resort Corridor, and UNLV until further notice. These actions ensure transit service is still available for those who rely on it for necessary trips, including workers needed for businesses deemed essential, while adjusting to our current reality where we are all being called on to #StayHomeforNevada. We thank you for your patience and hope to welcome all of our riders back on board as soon as possible.”

The transit agency already reduced Las Vegas Strip bus service by 50 percent March 13 because of decreased ridership.

Social Distancing

The RTC is also urging transit riders to comply with recommended social distancing precautions. In an effort to promote people keeping at least 6 feet of space between each other, the RTC is:

— Providing more space on routes by using as many larger, high-capacity 60-foot or double-decker buses as possible, even on routes that do not typically warrant them.

— Reducing close-proximity seating on buses by installing signs on seats that prompt riders to sit farther apart.

— Promoting social distancing at transit centers with limited customer presence (10 max) and a 10-minute limit per customer.

— Adding extra buses into circulation when buses on routes begin to get crowded.

— Using operator safety doors regularly to promote distance.

Reduced operation hours

The RTC is also reducing the operating hours of its call center, with it being open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., instead of 6 a.m. to 8 p.m, starting Sunday.

Aside from call centers, customers can also submit comments and/or questions via the RTC’s “Contact Us” webpage 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Hours of operation will also be reduced at the Bonneville Transit Center downtown, going from the 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. hours of operation for the sales booth, to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Select passes can still be purchased in person at other locations, but customers are encouraged to use the rideRTC app for the fastest service.

More information about purchasing passes can be found on the RTC’s website.

The RTC also has launched a dedicated COVID-19 webpage with updates related to the transportation agency’s response to the virus.

The transit agency already increased its cleaning efforts amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, installing hand sanitizer dispensers throughout its facilities, and crews are thoroughly cleaning the floors, windows, interior rails and drivers areas of its buses nightly.

RTC is applying a hospital-grade disinfectant that kills 99 percent of germs and viruses and using electrostatic dispensers that apply disinfectant on all surfaces on the interior of the vehicle. The disinfection process is in addition to normal daily vehicle cleaning.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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