Buses will begin running on their regular schedules in Skagit County starting June 14, after a vote Wednesday by the Skagit Transit Board of Directors.
Executive Director Dale O’Brien said riders have been requesting a return to regular bus schedules, as the current hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. aren’t accommodating all bus users.
“We’re getting a number of comments saying that people are unable to go to work and get home,” he said.
No Skagit Transit drivers have tested positive for COVID-19, and O’Brien said he has heard of no riders testing positive as a result of a bus ride.
“It’s just time to start getting back to somewhat normal,” he said.
Masks will be required, and passengers will be asked to keep 3 feet away from others. This essentially means every other seat will be available, O’Brien said.
He said while ridership is increasing from mid-pandemic lows, it is still about 50% of normal, a trend he said is seen industrywide.
Burlington Mayor Steve Sexton, who sits on the board, said he is concerned about spending money to run more buses if demand isn’t there.
“I get some folks saying anecdotally that they can’t get here or there, but I’m not sure if that warrants returning to 100%,” he said.
County Commissioner Lisa Janicki said many of the county’s lowest-paid workers rely on public transit, and it’s worth the additional expense to help them get to work.