BANGOR – Bangor’s Community Connector bus system is still running during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to system officials, there are people who still need to travel and use the transit system.
“We are open, just for the essentials services that you need,” said Laurie Linscott, bus superintendent. “People need to go to work, they need to get to the doctor, the pharmacy, get their supplies. So, we do not want you to ride the bus if you do not need to, but we are here for those that do need us. I mean, there are people going to get dialysis and cancer treatments still, so we do have to service those folks.”
Community Connector bus drivers who WVII/WFVX spoke with didn’t want to go on camera, but say they’ve seen an increase in the number of people riding the buses. They say they believe it’s because the rides are free right now and some people are using them for shelter.
Linscott disagrees. She says with the threat of the virus out there, the number of people using the bus system is going down.
“We’ve been trending ridership and it’s about fifty percent down right now. That is about what it is across the country, too, as well. So we’re about trending just about where everybody else is,” Linscott says.
She says new protocols have been implemented to reduce risks as much as possible. Those include spacing out bus passengers, making passengers use the rear door entrance to keep distance between them and the driver and keeping the row of seats immediately behind the drivers empty.
“We have been sanitizing the bus after every trip. We thoroughly cleaned them every night and put them back on the road the next day. So right now, I am very confident that we’re doing all we can to keep the drivers safe and all the passengers safe,” said Linscott.