An update from Pace on its COVID-19 Response

A worker sanitizes a Pace bus. Image: Pace
A worker sanitizes a Pace bus. Image: Pace

As Chicagoland transit ridership continues to plummet during the pandemic (which is generally a good thing for public health), local transit agencies are doing their best to keep their systems, prevent dangerous crowding, and get essential workers and transit-dependent residents where they need to go, while trying to avoid fiscal disaster. Pace Suburban Bus Service provided an update on their efforts this week.

Pace is currently seeing about a 62 percent drop in fixed-route bus ridership. There has been a roughly 74 percent drop in paratransit use.

Bus service has been cut on all routes with boosted school year service due to school closures; all express service to popular destinations; all commuter and Shuttle Bug routes; plus Routes 410, 411, and 412; Route 754; Rosemont Circulator; and the Schaumburg Trolley. Detailed schedule information is available here.

Here are some strategies Pace says it’s doing to provide safer conditions

  • Deploying extra buses to heavy-ridership routes
  • Providing thermometers to bus drivers so they can take their temperatures before shifts
  • Scheduling individual paratransit trips
  • Disinfecting the bus fleet daily
  • Closing its indoor spaces to the public to slow the spread of the virus

The transit agency is asking residents to limit their travel to essential trips, and try to sit at least six feet away from other riders. No word yet if Pace is considering waiving bus fares during the pandemic to allow for rear-door boarding, which would reduce queuing by passengers and lower drivers’ exposure to the virus.

Other recent pace initiative include offering free fixed-route bus and On Demand services for medical personnel, and waiving the usual $3 feel for its Taxi Access Program, which subsidizes cab rides for people with disabilities.

Here are some tips on preventing the spread of COVID-19, and advice for Chicagoans on what to do if you think you may have been exposed to the virus. 

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