StarTran changing schedule during pandemic

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On Tuesday, Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird announced that StarTran is responding to a decline in ridership by moving to a  reduced service schedule this week and planning an on-demand service pilot project in April.  The changes are in response to a 75-percent decline in ridership because of COVID-19.

The changes that begin  Thursday, April 2 include the following:

  • StarTran will operate on the Saturday service schedule Mondays through Saturdays. The schedule is available at startran.lincoln.ne.gov.
  • The UNL routes will continue to operate on the summer schedule Mondays through Fridays.
  • Handi-Van service will operate from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (last pickup at 8 p.m.) Mondays through Fridays and 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (last pickup at 6 p.m.) Saturdays.
  • Instead of boarding at the farebox next to the driver’s seat, most customers will be required to board from the rear doors.  The change will temporarily eliminate fare collection.  Those who need to use a ramp or have the bus lowered will continue to board at the front entry.

StarTran Transit Manager Mike Davis said average ridership has dropped from about 12,000 customers a day to an all-time low of 3,200 customers March 26.

“We expect ridership to continue to decline as more residents follow the social distancing recommendations to stay home and telework,”  said Mayor Gaylor Baird. “At the same time, we understand that public transportation is essential for many.  The pilot project we hope to start in mid-April will use smaller vehicles to provide on-demand service. I commend StarTran for responding to the crisis with an innovative solution.”

Davis said StarTran is cleaning buses every evening using a disinfectant spray that remains on surfaces overnight to kill bacteria and germs.  Drivers have also been provided with masks, disposable gloves and sanitizer.  Handi-Vans are disinfected every time the van is empty.

More information on the City’s response to COVID-19 is available at covid19.lincoln.ne.gov.

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