Valley Transit

Valley Transit commuter buses are running mostly like normal other than cautionary practices like asking passengers to maintain six feet of distance between other passengers and the driver.

WASILLA — Valley Transit asks commuters to maintain social distancing and limit their local pickups to necessary trips in response to the COVID-19 situation.

“We’re still going and it seems like it’s working,” customer service representative Amanda Shepard said.

Valley Transit is a non-profit organization that provides public transportation for local residents, offering a fixed schedule between the Valley and Anchorage and demand response service within the area.

Right now, they’re only booking two passengers for local destinations with their Demand Response buses. Locals need to call ahead of time for Demand Response services and those are limited to necessary trips such as medical appointments, grocery shopping, or rides to work.

Their commuter buses are running mostly like normal other than cautionary practices like asking passengers to maintain six feet of distance between other passengers and the driver, according to Shepard. She said they’re also asking commuters to enter through the back door unless they need the ramp or special assistance.

“We are taking those measures to keep people safe,” Shepard said. “We do plan on continuing giving rides to people. Our job is to help the public and that’s where we’re focused.”

Overall, local and commuter passenger numbers have declined due to the vast number of businesses shut down, according to Shepard.

“A lot of people that were needing rides to work have jobs that are not open right now. So, in that way it has slowed down. Our commuter riders are fewer also, because Anchorage as a whole is pretty shut down,” Shepard said.

On March 23 Valley Transit made the following post on their Facebook page, “Social distancing is very difficult in our service therefore we urge the community not to ride if not absolutely necessary.”

Anyone who’s traveled out of state within the last 14 days or experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath are asked to stay home.

“We ask if they have symptoms, that they don’t ride with us, just to keep our drivers safe,” Shepard said.

They posted another update on their Facebook page March 25, informing the public that they’re waiving the fare on the commuter service as an effort to maintain social distancing and prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

Valley Transit asks those without symptoms to exercise extreme caution by washing hands frequently and maintaining enough physical distance from others.

They’ve temporarily recently closed their customer service office to the public but people can still call their main line for questions.

Shepard noted taking coronavirus measures is an ongoing effort and hours and services are subject to change in the future.

Valley Transit operates Monday through Saturday. They regularly post updates on social media and their website. For more information or bus schedules, call 907-864-5000 or visit valleytransitak.org.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at jacob.mann@frontiersman.com

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