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GCTA reduces schedule

POMEROY–Director of the Garfield County Transportation Authority (GCTA) Rachel Anderson, announced precautions taken, the effects of distancing and service schedule changes due to the COVID-19 stay at home order, which included the governor mandated modifications to the public meetings. No public members are allowed in the office; the staff wipe down office doors; drivers wear masks and gloves and wipe down the buses upon return. Ridership has diminished requiring a reduction in personnel and hours.

The changes are reduced shopper service to the L-C Valley to Tuesdays and Thursdays, and daily commuter service has been suspended until needed. One driver will provide service Monday through Friday. Not more than one driver will be on shift at the same time.

Anderson and Jeff Ruchert, GCTA Manager, regular office hours are observed with the social distancing protocol. Some concern was expressed that if one becomes ill, they will both be quarantined leaving the office unmanned. Anderson said that there is an alternate plan of action in this case.

The GCTA has received the first half allotment of $58,000 from the Department of Transportation, which can be used at their discretion. Anderson outlined some options, such as holding the funds until they know how their tax revenue will be affected, or using some of the funds to pay the employees.

Justin D. Leighton, Executive Director, Washington State Transit Association presented an letter dated April 3, 2020, from the Department of Revenue warning tax revenue from state and local taxes will decrease. “If a tax payment is delayed due to an extended due date, the local tax distribution associated with that payment will also be delayed,” the letter read. “The tax revenues in question include “local sales tax, local leasehold excise tax, and local forest tax.”

Anderson expressed a concern about the GCTA’s drivers losing income because of reduced hours, which is at no fault of their own. They have been asking scheduled drivers to wait at home for two hours, on call, to see if they will be needed. She would like to pay them for that time, or possibly more since payroll funds are already in the budget. Nothing has been determined at this time.

The next meeting of the GCTA will be May 18, 2020, at 1:15 p.m.