(CBS DETROIT)– Starting March 15th riders on SMART and DDOT buses will be required to once again pay bus fare. Payment had been suspended since March 2020 to limit exposure between drivers and operators, DDOT Executive Director of Transit Mikell Oglesby says new safety modifications are being implemented.

“Now that we are as safe as we can be it was always told that we would start charging fares again when it was safe to do so.”

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Oglesby says riders will start to see many changings to all DDOT and SMART buses. Such as hand sanitizing stations that riders are required to use upon entering the bus, permanent barriers will separate drivers from passengers as front door boarding resumes. He says there will also be an increase in rider capacity to 20 on a standard bus to 26 on larger ones.

“This allows space for those that have destinations like work, schools and critical essential trips.” Oglesby said during a press conference on Wednesday

Masks and social distancing will still be required and passengers needing to communicate with drivers must do so behind the barrier. Federal funding has been provided for the safety measures and loss revenue.

Oglesby says this is a step in the right direction, and they will consistently monitor the process.

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“We’re going to listen to the operators and we’re going to listen to the riding public.

 

DDOT would like passengers to know the following information.

“Pass sales will begin Feb. 25 in all locations. Dart Regional Passes can be purchased via the DART app; more info can be found at paywithdart.org. Along with Dart Regional Passes, DDOT and SMART passes can be purchased in person at the following locations: Rosa Parks Transit Center, 360 Michigan Avenue; SMART Downtown Transit Center, Buhl Building, 535 Griswold Street; and at the Royal Oak Transit Center, 202 Sherman Drive. Passes can also be purchased online at smartbus.org.”

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April Morton