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Transit Authority OKs route cuts after low ridership related to COVID

Transit Authority OKs route cuts after low ridership related to COVID

Low ridership may prompt changes to bus routes

The Cowlitz Transit Authority on Tuesday declared an emergency and approved reducing bus routes in response to “plummeting” ridership related to the new coronavirus.

Ridership on fixed routes is down 50% and ridership on paratransit routes is down 70%, according to meeting documents. The reduced ridership will result in an estimated $6,800 in lost fare revenue.

The Transit Authority voted 4-1 to declare an emergency and immediately grant the transit manager power to modify existing routes “as deemed necessary.” In addition, the declaration allows the manager to modify fare collections, waive competitive bidding requirements and suspend policies to preserve the safety of staff, riders and the community.

Transit Authority members Dennis Weber, Chet Makinster, Jeffrey McAllister and Mike Wallin all voted for the declaration of emergency. Lisa Alexander, the lone dissenting vote, said she was concerned the changes would not give enough notice to riders who depend on the bus service.

Signs about route changes will be posted in buses and stations. It was not immediately clear what these changes might be.

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