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Ridership was projected to fall 45% even before the the governor's stay-at-home order, which will cause more reductions.

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - TriMet will announce service reductions soon because of flling ridership.TriMet will continue providing transit service during the COVID-19 crisis, but is planning service changes because of ridership declines due to people staying at home and worried about being exposed to others in confined spaces.

According to the transit agency, the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency considers mass transit to be a critical infrastructure function, and mass transit workers to be essential critical infrastructure workers. Follow the statewide stay-at-home order issued by Oregon Gov. Brown on Monday, TriMet is asking people to take transit only if necessary.

"By avoiding unnecessary trips, people help make space for the medical staff, first responders and other essential staff that serve the community and count on TriMet to get where they need to go," the agency announced in a press release after Gov. Brown's March 23 order. "Those who must ride during this time should maintain 6 feet of distance from other riders and the operator. We appreciate everyone's help, as it takes all of us to flatten the curve and save lives."

Even before Brown issued her order, TriMet said ridership was projected to be down by more than 45% last week over February's average. Brown's order is expected to decrease ridership even more.

In response, TriMet is preparing to reduce service in the near future.

"While TriMet has been able to maintain service levels, we are making plans to reduce service that we expect to announce later this week. Riders should always check trimet.org/alerts before they head out. We are also posting updates at trimet.org/health," according to the agency.

"TriMet will continue to run as public transit is considered an essential service, even during a time of crisis. As more restrictions are placed on the daily lives of those in our area and more people follow the stay-at-home direction, we will continue to see fewer and fewer riders using TriMet's buses and trains," the agency wrote. "However, there are nurses and doctors, social service workers, child care workers, grocery store employees, first responders, transit employees and others who remain in critical jobs. Many of those rely on transit to get them where they need to go to help people, protect our community and keep the essential services of the community going."


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