FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ali Madison | email@example.com | 509.571.0711
Ben Franklin Transit adjusts services to provide additional transportation options to local COVID-19 vaccination sites, effective March 15
RICHLAND, Wash. – Ben Franklin Transit (BFT) has adjusted some of its services to offer the community additional transportation options for increased connectivity to local COVID-19 vaccination sites. The changes, effective Monday, March 15, include:
- Expanded access to reserved rides for seniors and those with mobility challenges regardless of ADA (Dial-A-Ride) eligibility, including round-trip scheduling to vaccine sites and shortened wait times for return trips.
- Added connectivity options using BFT CONNECT.
“We’ve been working with the Benton-Franklin Health District and other amazing local partners to identify solutions to known transportation challenges associated with reaching COVID-19 vaccine sites,” said BFT General Manager Gloria Boyce. “BFT is committed to assisting our community in meaningful ways and we are pleased that we could adjust our services to help address some of these challenges.”
SERVICE OPTIONS TO REACH VACCINE SITES
Seniors and Mobility Challenged Individuals:
Seniors and mobility challenged individuals, regardless of ADA (Dial-A-Ride) eligibility, will be able to schedule trips to and from vaccine sites. These round trips will be scheduled at the time of initial request, with return trip pickup available as soon as 40 minutes after drop-off. These round-trip reservations to reach vaccine sites must be made at least one (1) day and up to seven (7) days in advance by calling 509-735-0160 (toll free 1-877-646-4287).
Reservation lines are open Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, reservation lines are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for scheduling Monday rides only.
BFT CONNECT, our on-demand service, will offer expanded destination options with front-door drop-off to local COVID-19 vaccination sites. Additionally, adjacent zone trips will be allowed using BFT CONNECT to expand access to vaccine sites outside the passenger’s service zone of origin. To request a ride:
- Download and open the Via app on your smartphone and follow prompts, OR
- Call 509-204-4189 to request a ride
BFT has 18 bus routes serving Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, West Richland, Benton City, and Prosser. Customers throughout the Tri-Cities and Finley may use BFT CONNECT to reach the bus network. For the most up-to-date bus schedules we recommend that riders download and use the Transit app, or go to bft.org/BusRoutes.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT SERVICE OPTIONS AND VACCINE SITES
A list of eligible vaccine sites with BFT service options and additional information can be found at bft.org/VaccineTransportation. We will update this page as additional resources and information become available. At this time, the Fairgrounds mass vaccination site is not available for transit service due to being a drive-thru only site, however we will update our information page and service options if this changes. For complete COVID-19 vaccine information, including all available vaccine locations, please refer to the Benton-Franklin Health District’s website at bfhd.wa.gov.
BFT will notify customers via Facebook and Twitter, on its webpage at bft.org and by other means as appropriate of any further changes in service.
BFT Customer Service phone support is available Monday thru Friday, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. to assist passengers with questions or trip planning.
When using BFT services and at our facilities, we ask all riders to adhere to the following:
- Wear a face covering (if needed, drivers can provide free face coverings while supplies last), in accordance with the federal order
- Maintain a safe distance from others
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water (or use hand sanitizer)
- Stay home and do not use public transit if sick or experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
BFT services are currently fare-free until further notice. Our most current safety efforts are shared and updated as appropriate at bft.org/Safety and on our social media accounts.