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Mountain Line managers continue service, but considering options

Posted at 9:02 PM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 11:43:49-04

MISSOULA — Managers of Missoula's Mountain Line say the transit system is continuing to meet all of its regular routes during the coronavirus outbreak. But they're also planning and watching for how rapidly changing conditions and restrictions could impact the buses.

Public transit is a lifeline for thousands of people in the Missoula Valley every day and that need for an "essential service" doesn't change much even in a community emergency like now.

Mountain Line has ramped up decontamination procedures, keeping service at normal levels.

"We want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to keep our buses clean, sanitized. We're doing that multiple times a day," said Mountain Line General Manager, Corey Aldridge. "We are also concerned about our bus drivers. We want to make sure they're safe. So we've closed off seats that are near the driver area."

Multiple times per day, every bus is being sanitized from top to bottom, with crews hitting surface areas like seat backs, handles and railings. And the system is encouraging people to be cautious, leaving space between passengers where possible, being considerate of those with anxiety over the coronavirus. And being responsible.

"If you're feeling sick, or any sort of symptoms, we ask that you find another way to get to the doctor's, to limit exposing other people to your sickness," said Aldridge.

Aldridge said Mountain Line will continue to asses the progress of this outbreak and consider what other steps might be needed to keep passengers, and, staff safe. That includes monitoring any county-ordered restrictions, but also considering what happens if drivers get sick.

"Our contingency plan still provides transportation in all the areas that we currently do. It would just be at a reduced frequency," said Aldridge.

Alerts will be updated on their website for service changes.