The Commissioners Court ratified this action at the regular April 14 meeting. The department will not collect fares until the county's declaration of a local state of disaster for public emergency is lifted.
"Due to the COVID-19 impact, waiving fares help our riders during this difficult time financially, but also 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." said Tennille Jones, Fort Bend Transit community relations manager, in an email.
She added any changes to transit fares must be approved by the court. The item would have been presented to the court at an earlier meeting date, but the department had missed the deadline for inclusion on the April 7 meeting agenda.
Fort Bend County public transit fares range from $1-$3.50, depending on the service, per the department’s website.
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 transports up to 20 passengers, while the demand-response service transports up to eight at a time. The normal capacity is 40 passengers and 16 passengers, respectively, Jones said.
“These safety measures may result in service delays, but please know we are committed to providing the safest public transportation to our passengers,” the department states on its website. “We are continuing to take preventative measures and disinfecting vehicles daily.”