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Sandy Transit works to adapt to drop in ridership, staff shortage amid crisis

PMG FILE PHOTO  - Sandy Transit maintains runs to Gresham but moves it to hourly schedule. With a statewide order to stay at home in effect, understandably, fewer people are utilizing public transportation in Sandy. That said, Sandy Area Metro is still running.

Because of the drop in ridership and a staff shortage, the transit department has cut the SAM route to Gresham to running routes hourly, rather than the normal every 30 minutes, starting Tuesday, March 24.

Transit Department Director Andi Howell said the ridership began to drop off over the past few days, even with the temporary suspension of fares on transit.

Drivers disinfect the buses after every run, wiping down all surfaces likely to be touched by riders, and the buses are thoroughly disinfected once they come back to the yard.

"We may see some rolling back of services, we may shift into more of a demand service like dial-a-ride service," Howell explained in the virtual City Council meeting on March 23. As with many things at this time, changes to services and operations are still tentative and occur quickly.

First run of the day will start at 5:30 a.m. at the Sandy Transit Center at Centennial Plaza and run every hour on the hour. The last run of the day will depart the Sandy Transit Center at 9:30 p.m.

"We have increased cleaning and disinfection protocols," Howell assured. "The drivers have all been retrained on preventing exposure to contagious diseases. We encourage 'social distancing' while on transit, if possible."

To keep abreast of transit changes and run times, visit www.ci.sandy.or.us/transit.


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