Coronavirus_Sign_imageBFT Safety Measures for Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)

The COVID-19 situation is evolving daily, and Ben Franklin Transit (BFT) is here to help. We will continue to closely monitor the proclamations from the governor’s office and recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Washington Department of Health and the Benton-Franklin Health District. 

PASCO ROUTE CHANGES: On April 13, service was suspended on ROUTES 64, 65, 66/67 & 268. See our press release for more details. The following bus routes are available on a temporary basis to maintain accessibility to essential services:

We will notify customers via social media (Facebook and Twitter), here on our website, and other means as appropriate if there are any other changes in service.

For the most up-to-date bus schedules we recommend that riders:

 

Posted: October 08, 2020

Our commitment to the safety of our passengers and employees has not wavered. Check out this video on how we’re keeping our vehicles, transit centers and facilities clean for everyone’s safety. 

Posted: September 22, 2020 

In light of community progress toward recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, we have developed a “Service Recovery” plan to summarize how we will take steps to reopen and advance through each of the Safe Start Washington reopening phases and move forward at BFT. This plan is a visual representation of how we envision transitioning back to more normal operations over time (click on the image below to enlarge).

BFT-Phased-Recovery-Plan-Overview_Rev10-5-2020

Our Service Recovery Plan (PDF) outlines various safety measures we have taken across BFT services and operations to protect our front-line employees and riders, including the suspension of fares and front-door boarding, capacity limits aboard our service vehicles, the closure of our public-facing building spaces, and more. With each phase progression, these measures begin to change in some way, with the most significant changes anticipated when our community reaches Phase 3. This is a current snapshot, developed according to all known and issued guidance from our local health authority and the state. This information will be updated if any aspect of our plans change.

View what we are doing now to protect our employees and riders: What is BFT Doing During COVID-19? (PDF).

Posted: July 24, 2020 

BFT employees commit to wearing a face mask! Watch and see who we wear a mask for.

Posted: June 26, 2020 - FACE COVERINGS NOW REQUIRED​

COVID_Masks_Required_Post_Image_FINAL_v2_Rev_6-26-2020Effective TODAY, face coverings are REQUIRED in public spaces as mandated by the state to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The face covering requirement applies to all transit vehicles and facilities (including transit centers), as they are considered public spaces where you will encounter other people.

According to the order, those who do not have to wear a mask include:

- Children under age 5 (under 2 should never wear one; ages 2-4 can/should with adult supervision)

- People with certain disabilities or health conditions

- People who are deaf or hard of hearing.

At BFT, we have been wearing masks for many weeks, and will continue to comply with the face covering order going forward. Thank you for joining us in doing your part to keep yourself and your fellow riders safe. Read more about the order.

For information about safety requirements, visit the Benton-Franklin Health District website.

Posted: June 2, 2020

On June 1, the governor announced a transition to "Safe Start, Stay Healthy," a county-by-county phased reopening approach. For more information, view the PDF on the governor's website.

Visit the CDC web page for suggestions on how to protect yourself when using public transportation.

BFT Dial-A-Ride Applications: If you are dropping off a Dial-A-Ride application while our Administration building is closed, please drop the application in the Vanpool payment drop box in front of the building. Please fold the application and place it into a letter-sized envelope to ensure it does not get stuck in the chute.

Posted: May 8, 2020

REMINDER - STARTING MAY 11: BFT CONNECT AVAILABLE IN ALL 6 ZONES

Starting Monday, May 11, our new BFT CONNECT service will offer on-demand rides for you to reach essential services and connect to the BFT network throughout the Tri-Cities. View maps and more information about each zone at bft.org/ConnectOnDemand.

Posted: May 6, 2020

THANK YOU FROM SECRETARY CHAO

Watch Secretary Elaine L. Chao's message to the thousands of public transit employees that are still on the job in communities all across the country. This includes BFT's dedicated staff who transport police, doctors, nurses, grocery store clerks and other essential workers to and from work every day. Our public transit employees are making incredible sacrifices to ensure that our community keeps moving during this incredibly difficult time. We sincerely appreciate all that they do.

Posted: May 4, 2020

NEW: BFT CONNECT ON-DEMAND SERVICE - MORE ZONES STARTING MAY 11

Starting Monday, May 11, our new BFT CONNECT service will offer on-demand rides for you to reach essential services in the following zones:

View maps, Transit Connections and more information about each zone at bft.org/ConnectOnDemand.

Posted: May 1, 2020

NEW: BFT CONNECT ON-DEMAND SERVICE - STARTING MAY 4
WEST RICHLAND & BADGER MOUNTAIN ZONE

Starting Monday, May 4, our new BFT CONNECT service will offer on-demand rides for you to reach essential services in the West Richland and Badger Mountain Satellite zone. Brought to you by BFT in partnership with and powered by Via, BFT CONNECT will allow riders within active service zones to request a ride from within the Via App, or call in to request rides as needed, to connect to designated BFT Transit Connections. During this COVID-19 emergency, rides are FREE, and passengers will ride alone and sit in the back row to maintain social distancing from drivers.

The West Richland & Badger Mountain area will be the second BFT CONNECT service zone to launch, and the remaining four planned zones in the Tri-Cities will be active by the end of May.

Details about the CONNECT service, including how it will work during and after the state of emergency, are available at bft.org/ConnectOnDemand.

Posted: April 20, 2020

Notice to our valued Dial-A-Ride customers:

Ben Franklin Transit is committed to the safety and well-being of our drivers and the community we serve. As part of the ongoing emergency response measures and based on health authority guidance, the following are requirements and requests for support, effective April 14, 2020:

  • MASKS: All Dial-A-Ride passengers should wear a mask OR nose/mouth covering until further notice, unless doing so poses a health challenge. Dial-A-Ride drivers are also adhering to this protection measure.
  • ESSENTIAL TRIPS: When making a reservation, all customers will be asked the purpose of their trip; at this time, only essential trips as outlined in the Governor’s order will be scheduled. These include food/grocery, medical appointments, pharmacy, and essential work trips only.
  • SYMPTOMS: If you have had symptoms of COVID-19 within the last five days, please do not use public transportation.
  • DISTANCING: We are being mindful of physical distancing guidelines in scheduling passenger trips.

Please be aware of potential longer wait times for Dial-A-Ride services currently. Thank you so much for your support, your efforts and your understanding.

Posted: April 17, 2020

NEW: BFT CONNECT ON-DEMAND SERVICE - STARTING APRIL 20
WEST PASCO ZONE

Starting Monday, APRIL  20, our new BFT CONNECT service will offer on-demand rides for you to reach essential services in West Pasco.  Brought to you by BFT in partnership with and powered by public mobility digital infrastructure provider Via, BFT CONNECT will allow riders within active service zones to request a ride from within the Via App, or call in to request rides as needed, to connect to designated BFT Transit Connections. During this COVID-19 emergency, rides are FREE, and passengers will ride alone and sit in the back row to maintain social distancing from drivers.

Though West Pasco will be the first and only BFT CONNECT service zone to launch on April 20, the remaining five planned zones in the Tri-Cities, West Richland, and Finley will be active by the end of May.

Details about the CONNECT service, including how it will work during and after the state of emergency, are available at bft.org/ConnectOnDemand.

SAFETY NOTE: We have extended all safety measures including rear-door entry and exit and no fare collection until further notice.

View the press release: https://www.bft.org/press-release-ben-franklin-transit-and-via-to-launch-new-on-demand-service-beginning-april-20-in-west-pasco/

REMINDER TO ALL: Stay home unless the trip is for an ESSENTIAL reason as defined by the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order. If you don’t feel well, do not ride.

Posted: April 12, 2020

RIDER ALERT: Starting Monday, April 13, service is suspended on ROUTES 64, 65, 66, 67 & 268, and NEW ROUTES begin.

WHY ARE WE SUSPENDING SERVICE ON SOME ROUTES?
We are making route modifications to protect our employees and adjust to fluctuating BFT staffing availability, while creating new temporary routes to "essential services." The goal is to keep people connected to food/grocery, medical, and pharmacy services as well as essential work trips.

The routes being suspended serve many schools that are not operating, connect to many non-essential locations, and recently have reduced demand. 

WHY ARE WE OFFERING SERVICE ON NEW ROUTES?
The following new bus routes will begin on Monday, April 13, 2020 on a temporary basis to maintain accessibility to essential services:

  • Route 61E.  This route will replace Routes 64 and 65, and provide one-way service departing 22nd Avenue Transit Center along Route 64 and continuing to Tierra Vida before returning along Route 65 to 22nd Avenue Transit Center. It will run every 25 minutes or less Monday through Saturday until further notice.
  • Route 69E. This route will combine and replace Routes 66 and 67 and provide westbound service on Sylvester Street and eastbound service on Court Street. It will run every 60 minutes on weekdays until further notice.

SEE SCHEDULES FOR NEW "ESSENTIAL" ROUTES 61E &69E: bft.org/Services/Route-61-69-E

SAFETY NOTE: We have extended all safety measures including rear-door entry and exit and no fare collection until further notice.

View the press release: https://www.bft.org/press-release-ben-franklin-transit-to-reduce-regular-routes-introduce-two-temporary-routes-in-pasco-effective-april-13/

Posted: April 3, 2020

RIDER ALERT: Reduced Frequency on ROUTE 268 begins Monday, April 6.

WHAT’S CHANGING on ROUTE 268?
Trip frequency will reduce from every 30 minutes to every 90 minutes.

This is a weekday only route, primarily serving schools that are currently closed and without significant connectivity to essential services as defined by the Governor’s order. Additionally, most stops on this route are shared with other routes, including 66, 67, and 225 which are operating on normal schedules at this time.

WHY ARE WE REDUCING SERVICE?
This service reduction is designed to protect our employees and adjust to fluctuating BFT staffing availability, while continuing to serve members of the community who need us for essential transportation services. The goal is to minimize rider impacts from any reductions we make, to keep people connected to food/grocery, medical, and pharmacy services as well as essential work trips.

SEE THE UPDATED ROUTE 268 SCHEDULE: bft.org/Services/Route-268/

View the press release: bft.org/press-release-ben-franklin-transit-to-reduce-frequency-on-one-bus-route-effective-april-6/

Posted: March 31, 2020

LOOKING AHEAD…

In our ongoing effort to balance maximum connectivity to essential locations with staffing considerations during this rapidly evolving situation, BFT is looking into options for service reduction. We have no such announcements at this moment, however if and when we do make those decisions, we will share the details on our BFT website and on social media (Facebook and Twitter).

We appreciate your support as we continue providing essential services to our community as fully and safely as possible, while prioritizing the health and well-being of our valued employees. 

Posted: March 24, 2020

NOTICE TO CUSTOMERS: BFT will continue to provide transportation services and as of now, we will operate on our normal schedule, however we urge all community members to follow Governor Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy guidance, which includes only leaving your home for ESSENTIAL TRIPS (i.e. grocery store, medical appointments, pharmacy). If changes are made to our services, we will update our BFT website, post on social media (Facebook and Twitter), and any other means necessary to inform the public.

Please be mindful when using our services and keeping a safe distance from our drivers and other passengers. BFT has also implemented no fare collection and rear-door bus entry to support social distancing.

Stay safe, and please stay home, and follow the guidance of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order.

Posted: March 20, 2020

NOTICE TO CUSTOMERS: The BFT Customer Service office at Three Rivers Transit Center is CLOSED to the public until further notice, and pass sales are temporarily suspended while fares are not being collected. Phone support remains available Mon-Fri 6am to 7pm and Sat 8am to 7pm at this time. We will post updates here and on our social media pages as anything changes. Thank you for your patience and understanding.​

Posted: March 17, 2020

View BFT's March 17 press release

Effective March 18, 2020, BFT is taking the following additional precautionary measures:

  1. Discontinue fare collection for bus, Dial-A-Ride, and General Demand services until April 11, 2020. This date will be reviewed as it gets closer to determine whether an extension is prudent. Customers with March passes will be able to use them through the end of April, and April passes will not be available for purchase until the date for return to normal fare collection is confirmed.
  2. Close the front doors of the bus. Riders will enter and exit the buses using the rear entrance only to maintain proper social distancing for drivers. Once onboard, riders are asked to maintain a six-foot distance between themselves and the driver and stagger seating to maintain that same distance from other passengers. PLEASE NOTE: Customers who require ramp assistance to board will be notified by the driver that another vehicle will be immediately dispatched to their location for pickup.

Posted: March 13, 2020

View BFT's March 13 press release

Effective March 13, 2020, BFT measures include:
- Daily sanitation of all buses and Dial-A-Ride vehicles using a hospital grade disinfectant
- Sanitation of all Vanpool vans before returning them to service
- Disinfection of high touch surfaces in our facilities
- Closure of public restrooms at Three Rivers Transit Center (lobby remains open at this time)
- Frequent communications to BFT staff
- Public posts like this one!

We also have hand sanitizer dispensers on order for all buses (they’re already on all Dial-A-Rides), and will install them the moment they arrive.

Check out this helpful hand washing video from the CDC: https://youtu.be/d914EnpU4Fo

IF YOU ARE NOT FEELING WELL, DO NOT TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. Call your healthcare provider before you leave your home and follow their guidance.

Thank you for your continued patience and support during this time.

 

Read our FAQs about Coronavirus on our COVID-19 page.