By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Yamhill County transit still operating

Marcus Larson ##A transit bus leaves the station on Second Street in downtown McMinnville.
Marcus Larson ##A transit bus leaves the station on Second Street in downtown McMinnville.

Bus ridership is down about 50%, but Yamhill County Transit is still operating, and plans to do so for as long as possible during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We want to keep people working as long as possible and to provide essential transportation services for those who have no other way to get to the doctor or grocery store,” transit manager Cynthia Thompson told the News-Register.

Most riders are “doing their part” to limit exposure and staying home, as Gov. Kate Brown and others have requested, she said.

The transit company is developing a contagious disease response plan and customers scheduling for Dial-A-Ride and Paratransit should expect questions about their health.

“We strongly urge riders to do their best to maintain the social distancing as much as possible, even when riding the bus,” Thompsons said.

The county transit buses are operated by First Transit, which told riders on the transit website it is increasing cleaning to keep riders safe.

“Maintenance staff will disinfect all common touch points on all vehicles and facilities. As an extra level of precaution, each evening our vehicles will be wiped and sprayed with a virus-­killing disinfectant solution,” the post stated.

“However, it is important to keep in mind that the surfaces where people touch should never be considered completely sanitized. Surfaces are only clean until someone touches it or coughs/sneezes nearby.”

First Transit did not respond to a call for comment, but spokesman Jay Brock sent a statement that said all Yamhill County Transit buses are washed and sanitized daily with disinfectants approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We continue to actively monitor the situation and follow the direction of the CDC as we do in all matters of public health,” it said.

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