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The COVID-19 situation is evolving daily, and we're 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. 

Current COVID-19 Precautionary Measures include:

  • All services are fare free until November 1
  • Hand sanitizers and masks available on all buses
  • Daily sanitation of all buses and Dial-A-Ride vehicles with hospital grade disinfectant
  • Sanitation of all Vanpool and CONNECT vans after each use
  • Closure of public restrooms at Transit Centers (lobby remains open)
  • Frequent disinfection of high touch surfaces in all facilities
  • Thermal temperature scanners at employee entrance locations
  • Hand sanitizing stations throughout employee facilities, with N95 disposable masks available 
  • Social distancing, including remote work and online employee meetings
  • Federal face mask mandate required on all vehicles and transit property

Upcoming COVID-19 Safety Measures (to be completed as soon as supply shipments arrive):

  • Air purifier systems installed on all buses (including Dial-A-Ride) 
  • Bus operator barrier doors (with built-in air filtration systems)

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Other Safety Updates

August 13, 2021

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that it will extend their federal face mask mandate for all airline, bus, and train passengers until January 18, 2022. This rule applies to anyone aboard BFT vehicles and anyone on BFT property. Children under 2 and people with certain disabilities are exempt.

"The purpose of TSA’s mask directive is to minimize the spread of covid-19 on public transportation,” said a statement from the agency. 

For additional information on Washington’s current health guidelines and requirements, visit www.coronavirus.wa.gov/.

 

June 28th, 2021

We are excited to FULLY REOPEN ON JULY 1!

All offices will reopen to the public and buses will run at full capacity! The federal mask mandate is still in effect. No fares until further notice!

 

May 14, 2021

FACE MASKS ARE STILL REQUIRED ON PUBLIC TRANSIT

The federal mandate, requiring face masks on all public transit and in transit facilities, is still in place, at least through Sept. 13, 2021, or until otherwise directed by the federal government (TSA directive and the President’s Executive Order).

BFT does not have the option to reverse the face mask policy. However, we appreciate your support with keeping yourself and others safe.  

We will continue to provide important and rapidly changing safety updates and information here and on our social media pages (@BFTransit on Facebook and Twitter).

For more information on Washington’s current health guidelines and requirements, visit www.coronavirus.wa.gov/.

 

April 29, 2021

RIDERS: Effective May 10, front door entry will resume on all BFT buses. The health and safety of our employees and riders remains our top priority, and we will continue to maintain limited capacity on our vehicles. At this time, onboard distancing guidelines will allow one passenger in a wheelchair per bus at a time when front-door boarding resumes.

All of our other safety measures outlined on this page will remain the same, which includes mask requirements, suspended fares on all BFT services until further notice, and encouraging passengers to maintain at least six feet between themselves and others on the bus.

Please see our updated Service Recovery Plan (PDF), which outlines various safety measures we have taken across BFT services and operations to protect our front-line employees and riders. This information will be updated if any aspect of our plans change.

 

March 15, 2021

Effective March 15, Ben Franklin Transit has made adjustments to some of its services to help improve connectivity to COVID-19 vaccine sites in our area.

Visit bft.org/VaccineTransportation for details.

 

March 3, 2021

Rider Alert: Starting Monday, March 8, service will RESUME on Routes 64/65 and temporary bus Route 61E will be discontinued. Route 268 will resume full service.

WHY ARE WE MAKING THESE CHANGES?

This set of changes is the final step in restoring regular bus services after scaling back in 2020 in response to pandemic impacts.

WHAT ARE THE CHANGES?

  • Route 64 will resume regular service Monday through Saturday.
  • Route 65 will resume regular service Monday through Saturday.
  • Route 268 will resume its full regular schedule Monday through Friday ONLY.
  • Route 61E (temporary bus route) will be discontinued.

View the press release.

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:

 

February 9, 2021 

FACE MASKS NOW REQUIRED BY FEDERAL ORDER ON PUBLIC TRANSIT

Effective IMMEDIATELY, face masks are REQUIRED on all public transportation vehicles and at transportation hubs as federally mandated by an Emergency Order issued January 31, 2021 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

The federal face mask requirement, supported by a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Security Directive and in effect until May 11, 2021, applies to all transit vehicles and facilities (including transit centers), as they are considered transportation hubs where you will encounter other people.

MASK REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE FEDERAL ORDER

Passengers and employees using public transit or at transit facilities must follow the order’s face mask requirements. This includes which kinds of face masks can and cannot be used, as well as when masks can be removed and what exemptions may apply.

Please click on the link above to understand these requirements before using transit services, as there are some changes to previous guidance (Example: face shields may only be worn with a mask underneath, gaiters must be folded over to provide two layers of protection, etc.).

MASK EXEMPTION REQUIREMENTS

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

  • Children under age 2 years
  • People with certain disabilities or health conditions*

*IMPORTANT: If you are exempt from wearing a face mask under the federal order, you MUST show documentation when boarding the vehicle or if asked at a transit facility. If you do not have appropriate documentation, you will be asked to properly wear a face mask (available, if needed) or discontinue your trip.

We will continue to do our part to ensure compliance with the federal, state, and local mandates and appreciate your cooperation in helping our community stay safe.

 

January 8, 2021

On January 5, the governor announced that WA state will shift to a two-phase system with an updated COVID-19 phased recovery plan, Healthy Washington - Roadmap to Recovery. Starting January 11, the state will follow a regional recovery approach with every region beginning in Phase 1. 

BFT will continue to support the safe mobility of our community and we will share updates here and on social media if our plans change.

 

January 4, 2021

LOST & FOUND

UPDATE: BFT is now reuniting ALL lost and found items with their owners BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. Please call 509.735.5100 to identify and schedule an appointment to pick up any lost and found items.

If you left an item in a BFT vehicle, you should:

  1. Call Customer Service at 509.735.5100 to inquire if the item has been found. (Hours: Monday-Friday 6am-7pm and Saturdays 8am-7pm)
  2. Make an appointment to pick it up.
  3. Pick up the item at the Three Rivers Transit Center office in Kennewick.

You must show a valid ID to pick up the item. Depending on the item, you may also be asked to provide other forms of verification that you are the item’s owner. Please note that BFT is not responsible for items lost or left behind on our vehicles. Any essential items that are found will be delivered to Customer Service and will only be held for up to 60 days.

 

December 14, 2020

RIDER ALERT: Starting Monday, December 14, service will RESUME on Routes 66/67 & 268 and temporary bus Route 69E will be discontinued.

WHY ARE WE MAKING THESE CHANGES?

This set of changes is the first step toward restoring regular bus services in Pasco after scaling back earlier in the year in response to pandemic impacts.

WHAT ARE THE CHANGES?

  • Route 66 will resume regular service Monday through Saturday.
  • Route 67 will resume regular service Monday through Saturday.
  • Route 268 will resume with modified service times Monday through Friday ONLY.
  • Route 69E (temporary bus route) will be discontinued.

Temporary bus Route 61E will continue to replace Routes 64 and 65 until further notice.

View the press release: https://www.bft.org/news-release-ben-franklin-transit-to-resume-three-routes-discontinue-one-temporary-route-in-pasco-effective-december-14/

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:

December 14, 2020

RIDER ALERT: Starting Monday, December 14, BFT CONNECT will offer extended hours.

BFT CONNECT new service hours:

  • Weekdays: 6am - 10pm
  • Saturday: 7am - 10pm

Learn more about BFT CONNECT by visiting: bft.org/ConnectOnDemand  

 

December 10, 2020

On December 10, the governor shared the latest COVID-19 Public Transportation Safety guidance. View the PDF to learn more: https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/COVID19%20Transit%20Agency%20Safety%20Requirements.pdf?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

 

December 2, 2020

From the beginning of this pandemic, BFT has remained 100% committed to doing all we can to keep our front-line employees and riders safe!

In the midst of the newest statewide safety restrictions, BFT will continue to do the following to support the safe mobility of our community:

  • Follow the guidance from local and state health authorities.
  • Clean and disinfect our vehicles and facilities daily.
  • Require face coverings when traveling in our vehicles and at our facilities.
  • Offer face coverings to those using our services who don't have one, while supplies last.
  • Operate BFT services fare free until Phase 3. This applies to bus, Dial-A-Ride (for those eligible) and BFT CONNECT services.
  • Offer front door drop-off and pick-up service to a number of essential business locations with BFT CONNECT until Phase 3. 

We are committed to maintaining a safe public transportation environment for everyone, and we hope you can help in that effort by following state and local mandates so we can help reduce the spread of this virus and continue to reopen our community!

 

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. 

 

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_Rev10-21-2020_FINAL

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).

 

July 24, 2020 

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

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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/

 

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/

 

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. 

 

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.

 

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.​

 

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.

 

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.