By Carolyn Marnon – Nankin Transit is still helping seniors and the disabled get where they need to go during the COVID-19 pandemic. Riders are required to wear a mask or face covering during a trip. For those riders who do not have a face covering, Nankin Transit has a limited supply that may be available.
Executive Director Jim Ridener says the pandemic has affected Nankin just like it has affected everything else. Whereas Nankin was doing 300 trips a day before the virus, they are now down to about 50 trips a day. They’ve lost about 80% of their ridership due to an abundance of caution since the senior population has been hardest hit by the virus
All drivers have masks and gloves according to Executive Director Ridener. The buses are wiped down every time someone gets on or off. A company disinfects the buses once a month, but the drivers clean them daily.
Drivers are given protection gear and cleaning supplies. Nankin is able to stay on top of personal protection equipment despite the items being hard to find.
Operating hours have not changed. Drivers begin at 8:00 a.m. each day and are done driving by 5:30 p.m. “When you lose 80% of your ridership, that leaves us a lot of capacity,” said Executive Director Ridener. “We had to cut the drivers down to 6-hour days, but we are still covering the same amount of time.”
“Our drivers are doing a great job during very difficult circumstances trying to keep them healthy and our customers healthy. I have to give kudos to the drivers that are out there day in and day out. We are considered essential workers. I take my hat off to the drivers and our dispatchers that handle the phones. We haven’t had to lay off anybody so that is a good thing. It’s a difficult time for them because they have families too. We’re trying to keep everyone safe and the system running.”
William Shaaf, a Nankin Transit driver and a resident of Wayne, said “We went from no worries (before COVID-19) to constantly trying to make sure we are doing everything humanly possible to make our buses as clean as possible for the safety of our drivers and passengers.” He added that the riders “are very cooperative, most of them board our buses already wearing their masks. I have given a mask to two passengers in the last week and a half, and they had no problem wearing them.”
If a senior or disabled member of the community needs a ride to the grocery store, doctor, or other essential ride, call Nankin (734-729-2710) for help with transportation. Fares are $3 one-way.