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When Will Phoenix Resume Full Bus Service?

For 15 months, bus riders in Phoenix have been boarding in the back where there is no system to collect fares. 

Since the pandemic began, drivers are supposed to visually check for bus passes as passengers enter through the rear door. Temporary plexiglass to protect drivers is being replaced with permanent high-level tempered glass barriers. Work should be completed in July and then passengers should be able to use front doors where the fare collection boxes are located. 

Physical distancing will remain until new COVID-19 cases are less than 49 per 100,000 and the positivity rate is below 7.9%.

Face coverings are still required on public transportation due to a federal mandate. If new cases fall below nine per 100,000 people and the positivity rate is below 5%, the mask mandate could be revised.

According to a City Council report, some safety measures may continue for the long term, including new cleaning/disinfection chemicals, installation of hand sanitizer dispensers on buses, fogging of transit-vehicle interiors, more frequent changing of transit-vehicle air filters, and increased cleaning of high-touch areas on transit vehicles (and at light rail stations). 

The Public Transit Department says it’s working with manufacturers to explore onboard technology, such as improved air flow and filtration systems, that can be incorporated into upcoming transit-vehicle builds. 

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.