ROCKFORD -The Rockford Mass Transit District will return to its regular, pre- COVID-19 route system Monday, Aug. 3.
Standard day service consists of 19 routes serving Rockford, Loves Park, Machesney Park and Belvidere between the hours of 5:15 a.m. and 6:15 p.m. At 6:15 p.m. weekday service transitions to the 6 night routes which run from 6:15 p.m. until 11:15 p.m. in Rockford only.
The late night shuttles will also run between 11:15 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. providing transportation from downtown to final destinations along the night routes for late night passengers. Saturday routes will also return to the pre-COVID-19 service levels and Sunday service continues to remain unchanged. For more information, passengers should visit rmtd.org.
When full service resumes, passengers will notice a few changes in the onboard experience. Beginning Aug. 3, front-door boarding will return Aug. 3. Passengers will board using the front doors and are will be encouraged to take a seat as quickly as possible.
“To accommodate front-door boarding, a barrier has been installed in the bus operator’s area on all buses as an added safety measure for operators and passengers,” RMTD said in a release. “Passengers will be encouraged to exit using the rear doors to minimize congestion at the front of the bus.”
The second change will be number of passengers allowed on the vehicle. Moving forward, in accordance with the guidance from the Winnebago County Health Department, all seating areas on the bus will be available for use. This will increase the maximum number of seats available for passengers on the bus from 10 to either 28, 29 or 32 depending on the type of vehicle.
All passengers will be required to be seated when riding. Passengers are encouraged to continue to spread out on the bus when possible using all available seats.
“As ridership is currently lower than expected as a result of COVID-19, social distancing should still be possible on most routes,” the release said.
Passengers will continue to be required to wear a mask or other facial garment that covers both their mouth and nose at all times while they are on any RMTD vehicle.
Passengers not wearing facial covering of some sort will not be allowed to board. Passengers continue to be encouraged to refrain from removing their facial coverings at any time for any reason while onboard the bus.
RMTD will also be introducing additional safety measures for passengers including having each fixed route bus equipped with two hand sanitizer stations-inn the front and rear of the vehicles. The paratransit vehicles will have one hand sanitizer station.
Passengers are encouraged to use the sanitizers when they board the vehicle.
Officials say all RMTD vehicle will be sanitized regular as part of aggressive cleaning effort. All hard surfaces will be wiped down during the midday hour. Buses will also be cleaned nightly with disinfectant and systematic fogging.
Beginning May 10, transfers will be extended to 90 minutes instead of 60 minutes so that riders may obtain their transfer when they board instead of when they exit. This change will allow passengers to simply exit at the rear doors and minimize congestion at the front door.
RMTD intends to introduce a mobile ticketing app in conjunction with the start of fare collection. This app will significantly reduce hard surface contact between the rider and driver. More information about the app is forthcoming.
More information about RMTD is on its website.