Ozark Regional Transit will require riders to wear face coverings

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 341 views 

Springdale-based transit provider Ozark Regional Transit announced all passengers will be required to wear a face covering starting May 18.

All passengers, with exceptions for those 2 years and younger, must be wearing a face covering before they board any ORT vehicle.

The face covering can include a homemade mask, full respirator, commercially made mask, bandana or fabric over the face. ORT will not provide passengers with face coverings, and a hand or elbow isn’t considered a face covering, according to a news release.

Through May 18, ORT drivers will encourage passengers to have a face covering and remind them of the requirement that goes into effect May 18.

Starting that day and until further notice, drivers will not allow passengers to board any ORT vehicle if they don’t have a face covering.

ORT has three fixed routes in Fayetteville, three in Springdale and two in Rogers and one in Bentonville. It also provides an express bus service between Fayetteville and Bentonville.

On April 21, ORT was awarded $4.25 million in federal funding to pay for expenses related to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The funding is part of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that Congress and President Donald Trump approved in late March. The Federal Transit Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation, will give $25 billion to help public transportation systems respond to the pandemic.

In late March, ORT announced it would limit the number of passengers on its buses to nine. The passenger limit will remain in place, said Jeff Hatley, public information officer.