WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Essential businesses and services are still serving citizens in Wichita Falls, and one of those services is the city transit system which is continuing to serve the community during this time.
For those who step onto the bus from one of these stops, folks will see seats marked with duct tape to put social distancing into effect, and Falls Ride has told drivers to regularly sanitize all seats, poles and straps to try and keep passengers safe.
“We decided to go ahead and take some proactive action,” Aviation, traffic and transportation director John Burrus said. “If we could implement some social distancing, not only on the buses but even within our facilities and locations such as the airport, [it would be beneficial].”
Burrus knows how important public transportation is to many residents of the city, which is why during the special city council meeting, he advocated for the city’s transit system to remain.
“Those people that are using the system right now need to get to work, need to go to the grocery store even go to the pharmacy, seek medical—just a regular doctor’s appointment,” Burrus said.
Losing Falls Ride would create huge hardship on passengers like Matthew Powell who just got hired for a job Wednesday.
“I think it’d impact quite a bit on a lot of people,” Powell said. “Getting to work or just getting around in general. Even the homeless, I was homeless for a minute, so I probably would. I probably wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the buses, honestly.”
For a long time, Falls Ride has kept bus driver Donald Denman and many others employed as well.
“You just can’t find people every day qualified to drive a bus because the qualifications are so strenuous now,” Denman said. “We’re actually short a couple right now in finding people to drive a bus qualified.”
However, Burrus said he hopes to keep the buses rolling as long as possible.
“We’re gonna follow the federal guidelines under our city council, mayor, my city manager,” Burrus said. “They’re gonna look at what other cities are doing and we’ll make our decisions based on what we feel’s best at that time.”
In addition to the regular bus routes, Falls Ride has a grocery cart program that helps the elderly and the disabled get their shopping done during the week.