ROCHESTER, Minn. – Riding the bus in Rochester will become a more expensive proposition on January 24, as Rochester Public Transit (RPT) says it will resume collecting fares.
The company suspended fare collection on all buses and routes in April 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. It also had passengers board buses by using the rear door and RPT says front door boarding will also resume on January 24.
"I think it's probably fair enough for them to comeback," said Diane Holtan who uses the buses. "It's ok with me."
Acrylic barriers have been installed near the farebox on RPT buses and the company says many additional safety measures remain in place including enhanced daily cleaning, a face covering requirement for passengers and operators, and 50% capacity limit on passengers.
“Safety of our passengers and operators is always our number one concern,” says RPT Physical Development Manager Ia Xiong. “With safety barriers now in place we are able to move public transit in Rochester forward with confidence.”
RPT is also announcing changes on the numbering of 16 routes. The company says the new numbering system is designed to be easy to understand for new riders and to allow for future expansion. #-digit route numbers use the first digit to indicate which of four geographic quadrants the route operates. Northeast Rochester routes will begin with the numeral 1, southeast with 2, southwest with 3, and northwest with 4. Another change replaces the “D” used to identify routes that serve the city’s four park-and-ride locations with an “X” to indicate express service. Park-and-ride lots and corresponding direct routes previously located at Cub Foods and Target South remain suspended with no plans to reintroduce them at this time.
“Further evidence of forward momentum can be seen in the implementation of the new route numbers,” says Xiong. “Before the pandemic, our system had three years of very strong service growth. We do expect to return to that trajectory in the next planning period.”