MSU Shuttle Drivers Take Up New Routines to Accommodate COVID-19 Concerns
The CDC says anyone using public transportation during the pandemic should use caution. The Bear Line, a shuttle designed for Missouri State University students to get across campus quickly, has changed its operations.Listen to the audio for this story here.
The braking chimes beep as the white-and maroon painted bus rolls to a stop. A few masked students get off and head to class. The bus driver, also wearing a mask, closes the door and the Bear Line continues on.
The Bear Line runs eight routes during the week, coded by color, like the Blue, Red, and Gold Routes. Each route reaches a different part of campus.
Cole Pruitt, who directs Bear Line management at MSU, tells KSMU all students are required to wear masks to get a ride, and drivers wipe down bus surfaces every few hours during a shift break. Drivers aren’t required to wear masks, which could impair their visibility, but most drivers do.
During a semester with more online classes, Pruitt says ridership is down.
“We have seen a decrease, based on the numbers and how classes are being conducted,” Pruitt said.
Howard Fisk is the owner of Fisk Transportation, which contracts the shuttles to MSU. He says the company has installed plastic barriers between the driver and riders and has given drivers extra masks to hand out to any student who doesn’t have one. He says these precautions will last as long as necessary.
“COVID-19 is one of those things that’s here to stay," he said. "It’s going to be through the year. We’re just planning to be very cautious not to take anything for granted.”
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