QC MetroLINK waives fares and takes extra cleaning precautions

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) - Thousands of people ride busses in the Illinois and Iowa Quad Cities to get around. We're seeing changes to public transportation to ensure both the passenger and driver's safety.

Thousands of people ride busses in the Illinois and Iowa Quad Cities to get around. There are now added precautions for the sake of drivers and passengers.

Now when you get on a bus, you won't be paying. This is to help limit the number of interactions you have on a day-to-day basis. Jennifer Hirsch who is the Manager of Administration for Metro says the bus drivers can have hundreds of interactions with passengers every day. She says that by eliminating cash, transfers, and paper tickets, it will also eliminate unnecessary contact.

"Public transit is an essential service and we are taking people daily to work and to important healthcare appointments so we're continuing to provide that essential service to all those who need it," explains Hirsch.

Hirsch also shared that QC Metro Link is cleaning their busses an extra time every night. Some riders like Jack Ferguson are seeing that difference, "It actually worked out pretty good for me. They're keeping it very clean and sanitary so that way we don't get a chance to catch the coronavirus. I'm appreciative." Yolanda Strong who regularly rides the bus adds, "it feels safer so you don't catch anything. And to keep the others from getting sick."

Metro closed down its passenger terminals as well. With Illinois' "Stay at home" order, ridership has been cut in half. On an average day, they'd see about 10,000 passengers. Now, only about 5,000.

Everyone is still urged to practice social distancing and make sure they wash their hands. It doesn't hurt to be prepared either. Ferguson says he tries to limit his contact on the bus but "it's kind of hard not to touch something on the bus. But I have sanitary wipes with me and stuff like that."

Metro isn't sure when the fares will be re-instated at this point. Hirsch says Davenport's CitiBus and Bettendorf's Transit will also waive their fares.

Their bus routes remain the same. As a reminder, if you can stay home, you should.