MTA offers essentially free rides on local buses during coronavirus outbreak

BOROUGHWIDE — With dwindling ridership on New York trains and buses due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced on Friday that riders could essentially ride for free on all local bus routes. Additionally, it was implementing a rear door policy to keep passengers at a safe distance from the bus driver.

“While Governor Cuomo has ordered non-essential workers beginning Sunday night to remain in their homes and not take mass transit, we are taking aggressive action to protect our thousands of frontline employees who are delivering a critical service to New York, moving the healthcare workers, first responders, utility workers, and essential employees who are protecting us from this public health crisis,” said MTA Chairman and CEO, Pat Foye.

Transit workers are the lifeblood of this city

“Transit workers are the lifeblood of this city and region and we are going to do everything we can to protect their health and safety,” Foye added.

When Bay Ridge resident Joe D. attempted to board the B-63 bus that runs along Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge, the bus driver abruptly stopped him.

“When I tried to board the bus to swipe my metro card, the driver motioned me with his finger to stop,” he told this paper.

“The driver directed me to enter through the rear door instead. Upon entering I noticed that the handicapped seats up front were in the upright position with an approximate 15-foot barrier, indicating that no one was permitted near, or to make contact with the bus driver,” he added.

ebrooklyn media / Photo by Arthur De Gaeta Passengers must enter the back door of local buses and keep their distance from the bus driver.

Express bus riders must pay

The MTA statement explained that while all customers must board local bus routes through the rear door, on express buses with only one door, riders would board as normal and pay a fare. However, they will not be permitted to sit in the first three rows of the bus to ensure customers are a safe social distance from bus operators.

Furthermore, the MTA said that its regular fare policy remains in effect wherever on-board payment boxes or SBS off-board ticket machines continue to be accessible. Passengers are also instructed to keep six-feet away from others.

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