Parachute Area Transit System back at full capacity |

Parachute Area Transit System back at full capacity

A Parachute Area Transit System rider gets off the bus at Parachute Town Hall.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

The Parachute Area Transit System increased seating to full capacity, the city announced Wednesday.

Due to the decline in the statewide COVID-19 infection rate, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado Department of Transportation have rescinded all social distancing restrictions on public transit within Colorado, a news release stated. Garfield County Public Health has also given the Parachute Area Transit System clearance for this increase. As of Tuesday, 83 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Garfield County since July 14, according to county data.

The city stated that it’s pleased it can increase to full seated capacity on its transit buses, helping to make its services more convenient for transit users.

“Our residents’ health and safety is the town of Parachute’s No. 1 priority. We are in constant communication with public health officials to ensure all necessary COVID-19 precautions are in place,” Community Development Director Jessica Paugh said. “PATS ridership is increasing every day, and we are thrilled to provide a safe environment for our community to utilize PATS services for their everyday needs.”

With the increase, however, riders must still abide by the following rules for the transit system:

• 100% seated capacity means all seats will be available; however, standing room beyond seated capacity will not be allowed. For example, if a bus has 15 seats up to 15 people can ride the bus at once.

• By federal law, masks are still required on public transit through Sept. 13. Bandannas, ski buffs and scarves are not considered facemasks.

• Riders should avoid public transit if sick, positive for COVID-19 or if they have or may have been exposed to COVID-19.

• Guidance from bus operators must be followed because they are responsible for the health and safety of their passengers.

The Parachute Area Transit system will continue to meet or exceed all COVID-19 safety guidelines from local, state and federal public health officials and will continue maintaining daily bus cleaning and sanitation procedures, the release stated. Hand sanitizer is available on all PATS buses for passenger use.

Since masks are still required under federal law on public transportation, the transit system asks passengers to please continue wearing masks while riding PATS and using PATS stops, regardless of vaccination status, the release states.

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