MTD continuing service, providing free bus rides


Jeffrey Hsu

People step on an MTD bus at the Illinois terminal on Oct. 19, 2019.

The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District will continue to operate at a reduced level of service through Illinois’ shelter-in-place order. MTD has been deemed an essential service within the state.

MTD began providing free bus rides on March 17 to help residents get necessary resources and supplies, and to help people in essential industries get to their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Free rides will continue until further notice.

“Our ridership is down this week, which for the first time, we can celebrate as a victory,” MTD said in the press release. “We ask that our riders maintain a safe distance from operators and other passengers by utilizing the entire space of the bus for seating and positioning themselves appropriately at bus stops and shelters.”

The free bus rides are intended to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19 by removing the need for exchanging money between passengers and bus drivers.  

MTD will add an additional SafeRides vehicle to further encourage social distancing and has enforced a new sanitation process using electrostatic sprayers to ensure their buses are safe to ride.

A full list of service reductions can be found on the MTD website. The reductions mainly apply to buses that served the University campus, or buses that were diverted to serve middle and high school students. University in-person classes have been canceled for the rest of the semester, and Illinois K-12 schools will not be in session until at least April 8. 

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