As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to increase in the county, the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) rolled out social distancing measures on all of its buses and facilities, while considering service reductions.
Beginning Sunday, customers were encouraged to use every other seat on fixed-route buses. No more than two passengers are allowed on MATAplus paratransit vehicles, including personal care attendants.
MATA also closed its Assessment Center, as well as the lobby and public restrooms at each of its transit centers until further notice. However, the customer service counters at the centers will remain open every day from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. But security officers will allow only three people in the building at a time to access the customer service counters.
The agency also continues to perform daily cleanings and sanitizing of its buses and shelters.
For now, MATA is continuing to operate normal services, but officials are considering service modifications as ridership continues to decline as the number of COVID-19 cases rise in the community.
“Public transportation is a critical service in the community,” a statement from MATA reads. “While it is vital that some levels of public transportation continue since MATA serves customers who may not have access to any other transportation to get to work, to the grocery store, and to healthcare facilities, reducing service is likely unavoidable.”
Gary Rosenfeld, MATA CEO, said the entire public transportation industry is feeling the financial burdens of COVID-19, but that the agency is “working diligently to continue to operate in a manner that allows for the best service that we can provide at this time.”