PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Transit riders are still able to get around, but there are some changes, and more could be on the way. SEPTA officials say ridership was down by about 10% on Friday.
In a press conference Monday, Gov. Tom Wolf spoke about making some transportation changes to keep people safe.
“We need to eliminate as many physical contacts as we can as we can to stop the further spread of the COVID-19,” Wolf said.
He also announced that the Pennsylvania Turnpike will no longer accept cash or credit cards at toll plazas, starting Monday at 8 p.m. All tolls will be temporarily collected via E-ZPass or the PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE program.
“We want everyone to be safe, to be healthy. Especially our employees who are delivering such a vital service to the region,” SEPTA Assistant General Manager for Operations Scott Sauer said.
SEPTA officials shared similar sentiments, after announcing that because of a drop in ridership — due to concerns of the coronavirus — regional rail service will operate on a severe weather service plan starting Tuesday until further notice.
Earlier on Monday, a number of regional rail conductors and engineers called out sick. SEPTA says this was partially due to lack of childcare.
That prompted the cancelation of 13 regional trips.
In Center City, near City Hall, SEPTA bus ridership was down.
But Lea Briggs, who is a home health aid, was taking no extra precautions.
“There are a lot of people here so I’m staying away from everyone,” she said.
The Philadelphia Parking Authority says most parking garages are full, likely because of the drop in public transportation.
Outside of 30th Street Station, Uber and cab drivers are feeling the impact of COVID-19.
“We are very, very concerned because we pick up people from all over the world,” said Mounir Lazir.
“I’ve been here for almost three-four hours now and nothing is happening,” Albert Subah said.
There’s not much happening inside the train station either.
Amtrak is now running weekdays on a Saturday service.
“I’m just praying and just putting my best foot forward,” Nasir Singleton said.