BUTLER COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - Bus drivers in Butler County are making adjustments to their daily routes, including delivering packages, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On any given day, there are dozens of Butler County Regional Transit Authority vehicles on the road, according to administrators there.
The executive director, Matthew Dutkevicz, said they have fixed bus routes, or people can request on-demand rides through an app.
Because of the coronavirus, Dutkevicz said they are taking extra precautions, by adding cleanings, sanitizer and protective gear.
“We’ve been deemed an essential service. We know we have to get people where they need to go, but there’s always a risk of exposure that our transit operators are facing," Dutkevicz said.
There are not as many people as usual using the service due to the outbreak, but he says there are still areas to serve.
“We’ve been able to take people to their dialysis appointments and other essential medical appointments and also get them to the grocery store and maybe even the pharmacy where they can pick up their medications," said Peter George, a vehicle operator.
They are even doubling up as a delivery service, helping local food banks, like Shared Harvest.
“I think we’re doing about 60 to 100 deliveries a day right now, taking deliveries that are put together by the food bank and delivering to people’s front step," Dutkevicz said.
Administrators say they are also working with local emergency officials, preparing for the possibility they may be asked to help transport COVID-19 positive patients.
“It’s my understanding there’s been some trouble finding transportation providers who are willing to do this kind of work," Dutkevicz said. "It’s a little scary, but somebody needs to do it.”
Dutkevicz said they are not at that point yet, so for now, employees said they are just happy to help those who need it.
“Most rewarding job that I’ve ever had," George said.
The BCRTA is also temporarily suspending fare payments for many routes to help people who may be struggling financially due to the pandemic.
Dutkevicz said most of their funding comes from federal grants.