WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - WAVE Transit is adjusting to business during the novel coronavirus outbreak, but leadership says buses will continue rolling until further notice.
Executive Director Albert Eby said they are making changes “to further minimize the risk of contraction and spread of COVID-19 to customers and employees."
On March 25, WAVE closed Padgett Station on 3rd street to visitors, though bus riders can still wait for their transfer outside.
Customers still will be able to wait for a bus outside, under covered shelters at both transfer centers - Forden Station and Padgett Station.
Also announced Tuesday:
- Greyhound customers will be permitted inside Forden Station by authorized personnel between the hours of 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Sunday for ticket and baggage transactions only. Customer service representatives will remain at each transfer station to assist customers by phone and facilitate Greyhound transactions.
- Wave Transit will also suspend fare collection for all fixed route bus service effective Wednesday, March 25th until further notice. Boardings will be moved to the rear door of buses. Front door access will be reserved for people with disabilities. Fares for Wave’s ADA accessible van service have not been suspended.
- Tickets for ADA accessible van service will remain available at Forden Station through advanced reservation. Ticket reservations can be made by calling 910-343-0106.
- The disinfecting regiment implemented for all vehicles remains in effect. In addition to routine cleaning, all vehicles used for service will be disinfected daily. “The disinfectant agent used and fogging application method is consistent with CDC recommendations and practices implemented by public transit agencies in the industry,” officials said.
Eby said transit systems like WAVE have received word from the North Carolina Department of Transporation that their services are essential, and they should strive to meet the expectations set by the state agency.
“NCDOT has passed down guidance that they are requiring transit systems to continue to operate because there is still a significant need for transit, especially in the urban areas to get first responders, to get nurses, to get folks that do the disinfecting of medical offices, hospitals or even other areas that are still open. So we are continuing to provide service.”
Eby said many WAVE riders utilize the bus system as their only form of transportation, and without it they would not be able to get to work, the grocery store or the doctor, if needed.
While WAVE will keep going until told to stop, Eby said they are trying to help fight COVID-19 in more ways than cleaning buses.
“It’s a difficult balance, but we are encouraging both through our website and through flyers we have on the vehicles as well as when we dispatch or schedule trips on our para-transit side, that our passengers think about the need for the trip, and only take trips that are considered essential.”