Topeka Metro has been notified that $6.5 million in relief aid was approved by the Federal Transit Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The funding is retroactive to January 20, 2020.
As a public transportation agency, Topeka Metro is considered an essential service and has continued operations since the pandemic affected our nation, our state, and our city. To date, no jobs have been eliminated or wages reduced.
Topeka Metro took measures to enact stricter social distancing by offering rides on all fixed routes free-of-charge, as well as requiring passengers to board through the rear entrance of the bus. Implementing these practices was an investment in the safety of our bus operators. Passengers requiring mobility assistance may still board through the front doors in order to use the ramp or have the bus lowered.
Funds from the CARES Act for transit include reimbursement for personal protection equipment, sanitization of buses as well as monetary compensation for furloughs if implemented.
“Hundreds of front-line medical and other essential service workers have lost their jobs during this pandemic. We’re pleased to have been able to maintain operations and fully support not only the continued need for public transportation but also the continued employment of people— particularly bus operators,” said Jim Ogle, Topeka Metro board chair.