With such measures and the community efforts to practice social distancing, weekly ridership numbers dropped significantly, according to data from the department.
Between April 6-9, a total of 894 residents were provided a ride through Fort Bend County Public Transit.
Just one month earlier, a total of 6,820 residents were provided a ride between March 2-5 through Fort Bend County Public Transit.
This represents approximately an 87% drop in ridership.
The public transportation department provides service routes from park and rides in Rosenberg and Sugar Land to the Texas Medical Center, the Galleria area and the Greenway area and back. It also offers a demand-response service, which allows county residents to prebook rides anywhere in the county.
Since April 6, the department has suspended its routes to Greenway Plaza and to the Galleria, per its website.
However, its demand-response service and bus route to TMC are still operating with reduced capacity.
The TMC service is now transporting up to 20 passengers at a time, while the demand-response service transports up to eight at a time. The normal capacities are 40 passengers and 16 passengers, respectively, FBCPTD Community Relations Manager Tennille Jones said.
Between March 2-8 and April 6-12, the number of riders on the service route from the Sugar Land Park and Rides to the Texas Medical Center decreased by 83%, from 1,787 passengers to 302 passengers.
Likewise, the return trip from TMC to the Sugar Land Park and Rides also experienced an 83% decrease in passengers, from 1,670 between March 2-8 to only 276 between April 6-12.
Additionally, the demand-response service ridership decreased by 78%: March 2-8 saw a total of 3,387 passengers, while April 6-12 saw only 745 passengers.
For those using the service routes, the public transit department is taking preventive measures, such as disinfecting the vehicles daily, to ensure the safety of riders. Additionally, the department will not collect any fares until the county’s declaration of a local state of disaster for a public emergency is lifted.
“From a safety perspective, it further separates the driver from the passengers, creating more effective social distancing, less handling of paper that may transmit germs, etc.,” Jones said.