SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — The Spokane Transit Authority begins reduced service Monday. Express routes that typically carry morning and evening commuters are suspended due to significantly reduced ridership due to the 'stay home' order.

Express routes impacted by implementing Level 3 Service include:

  • Route 124 – North Express
  • Route 144 – South Express
  • Route 172 – Liberty Lake Express
  • Route 173 – Valley Transit Center Express
  • Route 190 – Valley Express

An emergency proclamation signed by STA leaders suspended fare collections for all services, among other protections for vulnerable populations. 

RELATED: STA to suspend fares, add protections for vulnerable populations

Special rides are available for people over the age of 60 who must travel to essential destinations. These passengers will ride door-to-door in STA Paratransit vans and the amount of passengers per vehicle will be limited to maximize social distancing.

The Spokane Transit Authority also announced that all public seating and waiting areas inside the STA Plaza, except the Paratransit waiting area, are now closed.

In late February, STA updated its vehicle cleaning procedures to include daily disinfecting of all buses and facilities.

STA leaders have also made a limited amount of N95 respirators available to coach and van operators.

Buses also have recorded announcements and posters in buses reminding people how to help stop the spread of illness. One of those reminders is covering coughs and sneezes.

An employee with the Spokane Transit Authority tested positive for the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) just last week, according to a memo from CEO E. Susan Meyer.

Meyer said in the memo that the employee notified STA about their positive test result on Tuesday.

The employee began self-isolating last week after recognizing possible symptoms, according to the memo. The Spokane Regional Health District has instructed the employee to inform those with whom they had close contact about the test results, and will notify STA if additional actions or investigations are necessary.

The employee has mild symptoms and is "recovering well," the memo says. 

"I see the stress and anxiety naturally felt by our employees who are providing public transit throughout this public health emergency. I also see and hear heartfelt stories from employees and customers about the good STA is making possible for others Like many essential businesses and organizations working hard to provide their needed services – grocery stores, pharmacies, daycares, and others – STA is doing everything we can to minimize the risk of exposure," Meyer wrote in the memo.

"This is a new phase of the pandemic; one where a coworker is now affected. While difficult, we’ll manage through this together by adhering to our safety measures, continuing to use PPEs, practicing proper hygiene and social distancing, and by providing helpful resources to our employees. I am profoundly grateful to the men and women on the STA team who provide the lifeline service our communities require," the memo continued. 

RELATED: STA makes face masks available for coach, van operators