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COVINGTON, Ky. -- Buses serving Kentucky's three northern-most counties will make fewer daily runs and all buses will be free to ride, starting Monday.
The Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky announced the service and fare reductions, as well as new boarding protocols, Friday afternoon in response to the rise in local cases of the coronavirus, COVID-19.
TANK spokeswoman Gina Douthat told WCPO by email that "preserv(ing) a healthy workforce" is one reason behind the changes.
Another reason: Ridership has plummeted over the last week. Half as many people rode a TANK bus in the last week than did at this time last year.
"That was a major factor in the reduction," Douthat said.
The reduction in service will not mean layoffs, though. "We're rotating staff and report employees," she said.
All but two local TANK bus routes will operate on their Sunday schedules seven days a week:
- 1 - Dixie Highway
- 3 - Ludlow
- 5 - City Heights
- 7 - Latonia
- 8 - Eastern Avenue
- 12 - Bellevue/Dayton
- 16 - West Newport/NKU
- 25 - Southgate/Alexandria
- 33 - Thomas More Parkway/Crestview Hills
- Southbank Shuttle
Routes 9 - Taylor Mill/Independence and 11 - Fort Thomas currently do not operate on Sundays and will not operate any day of the week during this period, TANK officials indicated in a news release.
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TANK's popular 2X - Airporter bus route to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport will maintain weekday service throughout the reduction period, along with the 31X Rolling Hills Express line. The 39X - Petersburg Road/South Hebron Express will operate on a Sunday schedule seven days a week, and the 40X Worldwide Blvd/North Hebron Express will run on a modified schedule seven days a week.
The 10 remaining express routes will cease service until further notice, the release indicated.
The transit agency will also suspend all fare collection and only allow passengers to board buses using the rear exit door, "in an effort to promote social distancing and provide an additional layer of protection for drivers," the release indicated.
WCPO has reached out to TANK officials for more information and will update this story when it becomes available.