Community Transit temporarily suspended the collection of fares in March and asked all riders to board and exit through the middle and rear doors. This was done to allow for physical distancing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as recommended by public health officials.
During this time, we saw an increase in “non-destination” riders, many of whom shared with us that they were unsheltered and did not have access to hand-washing facilities, sanitizer or face coverings.
To support the health of these and all our transit riders, several agencies joined Community Transit to host a "pop-up" event at Everett Station in May to connect unsheltered people to community resources and personal protection equipment. The event was held in a parking lot close to Everett Station where agencies had set up pop-up tents.
People who stopped by the event were offered health screenings, information resources on shelter and food, hygiene kits (including face coverings and hand sanitizer), and information on ORCA LIFT, the reduced transit fare program available to income-eligible residents. Participants were also provided information on how to ride transit safely during the pandemic.
Community Transit employees made contact with more than 60 unsheltered people, and directed many of them from our buses to the outreach area.
Community partners included staff from the Snohomish Health District, City of Everett (Everett Transit and SAFE Team members), and Snohomish County (Emergency Management, Human Services, and Sheriff's Office).
We are evaluating the need for more pop-up events in the future. Meanwhile, fares on all Community Transit service resume July 1 and the agency will continue to support transit safety for our riders and employees.