Press Release: Ben Franklin Transit takes precautionary measures against coronavirus

March 13, 2020 08:37 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEBFT-logo-social-transp

3/13/2020

Media Contact:

Ali Madison | amadison@bft.org | 509.571.0711

Ben Franklin Transit takes precautionary measures against coronavirus

Agency following guidance from federal, state and local public health officials

RICHLAND, Wash. – Ben Franklin Transit (BFT) is closely monitoring the latest developments in the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and is responding to the rapidly evolving situation with measures to protect the health and safety of our customers, employees and community.

These steps follow the declaration by the World Health Organization of COVID-19 as a global pandemic, and actions taken by Governor Jay Inslee today to minimize COVID-19 exposure and illness throughout Washington state.

Effective immediately, Ben Franklin Transit will take the following measures:

  1. Close the lobby of our Customer Service office at Three Rivers Transit Center, located at 7109 W. Okanogan Place in Kennewick, until further notice. There will be one outside service window near the building’s main entrance open during regular lobby hours where customers can purchase tickets and passes.

Tickets and passes may also be ordered online at https://www.bft.org/fares/ and mailed to customers, or may be purchased at several outlet locations throughout the Tri-Cities and in West Richland, Benton City, and Prosser. A list of these locations is available at https://www.bft.org/fares/pass-ticket-outlets/.
 

  1. Close the reception desk at our Administration building, at 1000 Columbia Park Trail in Richland, to members of the public. The lobby at this location will remain open for visitors with appointments, as well as for customers to pick up Dial-A-Ride applications or drop off Vanpool payments. No other customer services will be available in the Administration building lobby at this time.
     
  2. Cancel or postpone public meetings and gatherings at BFT facilities until further notice.
     
  3. Allow teleworking for non-essential employees, those not involved in providing direct service to customers, while ensuring business continuity.

These steps do not impact bus, Dial-A-Ride, Vanpool, bus stop maintenance, and customer services. We will continue to provide regular service levels to our community at this time and will notify customers if there are any changes in service. For the most up-to-date bus schedules we recommend that riders download and use the Transit app, or check MyRide.BFT.org.

To protect our passengers and drivers, BFT has implemented daily disinfection procedures in all our vehicles and facilities using products listed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as effective against COVID-19. We evaluate vehicles if there are reports or concerns expressed about cleanliness and remove any vehicle in question from service for thorough cleaning and disinfecting.

Our top priorities are to continue service and to keep our employees and customers healthy and safe. We appreciate the public working with us to make this possible. We ask our riders to consider limiting non-essential trips and, most importantly, to stay home when sick.

In addition, we ask everyone to take personal health preparedness steps to protect themselves and others by following guidance from the Washington State Department of Health and Benton-Franklin Health District:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
  • Stay at home and away from others if you feel ill.

We encourage people to contact the local health authorities with questions or concerns about coronavirus:  

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