Anchorage suspends bus service to prevent coronavirus spread

Photo from People Mover Facebook.

The City of Anchorage is suspending bus service amid coronavirus concerns. The news came at a midday press conference Friday, where officials said they would be shifting to an “on demand” system for public transit starting April 8.

City Transportation Director Jamie Acton said residents who need rides will be permitted to do so for four essential categories of trips: grocery shopping, pharmacy visits, medical appointments, and facilitating essential jobs.

“On demand rides will be fare free,” Acton said. The People Mover system will use alternate vehicles, she added, not the standard 40-foot buses.

For weeks, the city had been limiting the number of passengers on city busses to cut down on the risk of transmission. However, officials said demand for rides remained high, making social distancing protocols unfeasible to maintain.

The People Mover system is suspending fixed routes, moving to “curb to curb” trips. Customers will need to set up accounts to request rides, which can be done online or over the phone.

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Zachariah Hughes reports on city & state politics, arts & culture, drugs, and military affairs in Anchorage and South Central Alaska. @ZachHughesAK About Zachariah