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Earlier this week, the Mountain Rides Transportation Authority stopped collecting fares to reduce person-to-person contact and protect its drivers from potentially sick passengers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Now it's going one step further. Starting Friday, bus drivers will increase social distancing among passengers by capping the number of riders at half-capacity.

“If a bus has seats for 32, then only up to 16 passengers will be allowed on that bus at any one time,” Mountain Rides said in a statement on Friday.

The organization also said it will provide “reliable transportation” as long as possible to support the valley’s essential businesses—grocery stores, gas stations, healthcare operations and other necessary infrastructure.

“Together, we will rise to this challenge and do our part in keeping our community a safe, healthy and vital place for all,” Mountain Rides stated.

Other route adjustments announced on Friday are as follows:

· Mountain Rides has decided to end its Blue Route late-night service starting today, March 20. Blue Route buses will stop running tonight at 11 p.m.

· Starting Monday, March 23, the Blue route will operate on its spring schedule, which can be found on pages 6-7 in the printed schedule.

· Also on Monday, March 23, the Valley Route will operate hourly from 5:44 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (northbound) and from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (southbound).

· The Hailey Route will continue to operate as scheduled.

Email the writer: ejones@mtexpress.com

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