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July 31st, 2020 by Ana DeUnamuno
HARRISBURG- Nearly 717,000 passengers utilized public transportation on Rides Mass Transit District routes in the previous fiscal year which ended June 30.
"This is an uncertain time and an evolving time, especially in the transit industry," said RMTD CEO Adam Lach. "The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant dip in ridership levels over the past handful of months, which we expected, but we continue to have a great impact in our local communities. Our staff continues to help deliver meals to homebound seniors, take people to non-emergency medical appointments, gets people to work and helps people get to stores to buy groceries and other essential needs which helps keep dollars in the local community."
RMTD provides door-to-door transportation by serving as the public transit provider in 17 counties in southeastern and east central Illinois.
In addition to travelling locally, passengers can gain access to regional destinations such as St. Louis, Champaign, Springfield, Charleston, Evansville, Ind., Terre Haute, Ind., and Paducah, Ky.
RMTD continues to partner with Southern Illinois University to provide Saluki Express fixed route service around Carbondale and has opened a new park-and-ride transfer hub in Marion which accommodates other area transit agencies while serving as a Greyhound connection point.
Transporting that many passengers across a large service area can present some challenges, but Lach says the organization is continuing to look at ways enhance its level of service.
"Providing public transit services across such a vast area gives us a chance to look at ways to continue to improve and evolve," said Lach. "It's something where we've been able to offer contactless fare collection and enhanced sanitizing and cleaning procedures. We hope to be able to expand some mobile ticketing and mobile reservation opportunities in the coming months."
RMTD is the largest rural public transit provider in Illinois. More information is available by visiting ridesmtd.com.