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A Minnesota Valley Transit Authority bus picks up riders at the Apple Valley Transit Station on Cedar Avenue. MVTA began a reduced schedule on March 20 in response to COVID-19.

Additional sanitation and ‘social distancing’ measures in place

Minnesota Valley Transit Authority is starting a reduced schedule that begins Friday, March 20.

“We realize our customers need to make vital trips to work and to get groceries and medical supplies during this trying time,” said Minnesota Valley Transit Authority Chief Executive Officer Luther Wynder.

“MVTA plans to do our part to help get through this health crisis.”

Thus far, MVTA has only seen a decrease of about 30 percent of ridership on local bus routes while express trips have dropped more significantly.

MVTA continues to take preventative steps and has implemented enhanced sanitation efforts in buses and facilities in response to the potential spread of Covid-19. MVTA is closely monitoring information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health.

According to MVTA, the changes will service will tentatively be in effect until April 3.

Changes effective Friday, March 20

On Friday, March 20, MVTA will begin a reduced bus schedule (detailed below).

Also effective Friday, passengers on the Red Line are being encouraged to use the rear door for boarding and use the Go-To fare box at the rear door.

Seats directly behind the driver compartment also will be closed to passengers and customers are encouraged to space themselves throughout the buses.

“MVTA is taking precautions to provide the social distancing measures recommended by health officials is to assist customers in these uncertain times,” Wynder said.

Enhanced Cleaning and sanitation efforts

MVTA has adopted recommendations from the CDC on enhanced cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting procedures. MVTA also has exceeded those recommendations by implementing a second stage disinfectant and additional cleaning. The following procedures are currently in place:

• MVTA is sanitizing buses before and after bus trips, which includes disinfecting high touch surfaces (stanchions, handholds, and fareboxes).

• The entire bus also is sprayed with a disinfectant with the HVAC operating in accordance with the manufacturer's recommended dilution ratio.

• Transit Facilities – All MVTA facilities are now receiving twice-daily cleaning and sanitizing.

• Paper products have been removed from buses and facilities to reduce material handling.

Reduced service schedule

Beginning Friday, March 20, MVTA will operate on an expanded holiday schedule that is designed for ridership levels seen on significant holidays when schools, restaurants, shopping, and some businesses are closed.

Schedule effective March 20:

Route 420: Regular Weekend service.

Route 436:

• Southbound trips depart 46th Street Station at 5:48 a.m., 6:18 a.m.

• Northbound trips depart Dodd/Opperman at 3:40 p.m., 5:20 p.m.

Route 440: Regular Weekend service plus additional trips.

• Northbound trips added from Apple Valley Transit Station at 6:04 a.m., 7:34 a.m., to the VA Hospital.

• Southbound trips added from VA Hospital at 4:03 p.m., 5:33 p.m. to Apple Valley Transit Station.

Route 442: Regular Weekend service.

Route 444: Regular Weekend service.

Route 445: Regular Weekend service.

Route 446:

• Northbound trips depart Braddock/Diffley to 46th Street Station hourly from 7:03 a.m. to 7:03 p.m.

• Southbound trips depart 46th Street Station hourly from 6:09 a.m. to 6:09 p.m.

Route 460:

• Northbound trips depart Burnsville Transit Station at 5:50 a.m., 6:22 a.m., 6:44 a.m., 7:06 a.m., 7:39 a.m., 8:05 a.m., 8:30 a.m.

• Southbound trips depart Gateway Ramp to Burnsville Transit Station at 1:35 p.m., 2:26 p.m., 3:06 p.m., 3:36 p.m., 4:07 p.m., 4:38 p.m., 5:08 p.m., and 6:10 p.m.

Route 477:

• Northbound trips depart Apple Valley Transit Station at 5:43a.m., 6:27 a.m., 6:50 a.m., 7:16 a.m., 7:59 a.m.

• Southbound trips depart Gateway Ramp to Apple Valley Transit Station at 12:15 p.m., 1:29 p.m., 2:29 p.m., 3:06 p.m., 4:06 p.m., 4:46 p.m., 5:25 p.m.

Route 480:

• Northbound trips depart Blackhawk Park and Ride at 6:09 a.m., 7 a.m., 7:50 a.m.

• Southbound trips depart Union Depot at 3:35 p.m., 4:15 p.m., 5 p.m.

• All trips serve Blackhawk P&R, Eagan Transit Station and downtown St. Paul only.

Route 490:

• Northbound trips depart Southbridge Park and Ride at 6 a.m., 6:50 a.m., and 7:51 a.m.

• Southbound trips depart Gateway Ramp at 3:11 p.m., 4:26 p.m., 5:20 p.m. and terminate at Southbridge Park and Ride.

Route 495: Regular Weekend service. (Service to Mystic Lake is currently suspended).

Route 497:

• Westbound trips depart Marschall Road Transit Station at 5:40 a.m., 7:40 a.m., 9:40 a.m., 11:40 a.m., 1:40 p.m., 3:40 p.m., 5:40 p.m., 7:40 p.m.

• Eastbound trips depart Town Square Mall at 6:01 a.m., 8:01 a.m., 10:01 a.m., 12:01 p.m., 2:01 p.m., 4:01 p.m., 6:01 p.m., 8:01 p.m.

Route 499:

• Eastbound trips depart Marschall Road Transit Station at 6:40 a.m., 8:40 a.m., 10:40 a.m., 12:40 p.m., 2:40 p.m., 4:40 p.m., 6:40 p.m., 8:40 p.m.

• Westbound trips depart Old Carriage/Wal-Mart at 9:06 a.m., 11:06 a.m., 3:06 p.m., 9:06p and Southbridge Park and Ride at 7:11 a.m., 1:11 p.m., 5:11 p.m., 7:11 p.m.

MVTA Connect: Regular schedule from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“This modified service plan allows MVTA to operate service out of one garage, which should ensure sufficient staffing for routes and bus sanitization,” said MVTA Chief Operating Officer Samantha Porter.

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