Public transportation receives government funding amid pandemic

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Local public transportation has remained in operation during the coronavirus pandemic, but with many businesses shut down and social distancing guidelines in effect, buses are running with considerably fewer passengers, which is causing serious financial shortfalls.

To combat deficits causes by COVID-19 to local public transportation, the federal government included a grant in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Securities Act.

This money is helping multiple area transit systems according to Brent Childers, Bowling Green’s director of neighborhood and community services.

“Transit ridership has been down quite a bit, but there has been an increase expense in taking care of the drivers, the increased PPE, all the costs that go along with that. So, this money is going to be used to just cover that shortfalls and cover those costs over the next couple of years as we move forward with transit,” said Childers.

While having fewer riders because of the pandemic, extra personal protective gear and cleaning supplies are necessary and account for a portion of the extra costs involved in running the transit system, according to Gayle Davis, Scottsville’s City Clerk and transit system manager.

“We installed a screen with the plexiglass to protect our driver and to protect the passengers getting on the bus. There is a tremendous amount of sanitation that has to be done after trips,” said Davis.

Those trips allowing people without other means of transportation to do what many people take for granted.

“They can go to the doctor. They can go to the grocery. They can go to the store. We can restart the economy using public transit as a backbone for getting people there that don’t have other options,” said Childers.

“It enables our people that have no means of transportation to improve their quality of life,” said Davis.

Bowling Green is expected to receive this funding in the next few months.