UPDATE (07/23/2020 3:09 p.m.)
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University has announced that the Public Rapid Transit (PRT) will not be in service during the fall semester this year.
University officials announced that as a result, additional busses will be in operation to transport members of the campus community between WVU’s Downtown, Evansdale and Health Sciences areas of campus. A finalized bus schedule and plan for bus routes will be available in the near future, officials stated. WVU’s Vice President for Strategic Initiatives Rop Alsop said during a Campus Conversation on Zoom that the university had been planning on how to shut down the PRT but maintain a robust transportation infrastructure. Alsop added that the PRT will not be in service for a good reason.
The reason that we’re not running the PRT is we know when individuals are in close confined spaces that the virus tends to spread much more prevalently than otherwise, like being outdoors. And so a 6-8 minute or longer ride on the PRT with any number of individuals, given the size of the car is an increased risk of spread. We didn’t feel comfortable with for the fall, so that’s the reason the PRT isn’t running.Rob Alsop – Vice President for Strategic Initiatives
Alsop said that all buses will operate at a limited capacity this fall. In addition, he said that anyone who rides the WVU and Mountain Line buses during the semester are required to wear face masks or face coverings, and riders should put their mask/covering on before boarding and wear it the entire trip. Riders should also avoid touching services with their hands.
All bus drivers will also be required to wear face coverings/masks.
Additionally, officials said riders should wash their hands or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol as soon as possible after disembarking, and before removing their mask or face covering.
Hand sanitizer dispensers will be installed in all busses, as well as a guard or shield to protect drivers. Officials said that WVU Transportation will undergo routine DSV (Disinfectant, Sanitizer, Virucide) after each shift.
“From my perspective, while I’m not saying it will be painless, there are going to be some inconveniences,” Alsop said. “I think we are much better prepared than when we had no notice that the PRT would be shut down and we had to quickly move to additional buses on campus. We’ve done a lot of preparation and thinking through transportation routes and signing up additional buses and working with Mountain Line so that we do have adequate transportation to get in between campuses for our students and staff that use it this fall.”
Alsop said students, faculty and staff can find out more about transportation options by visiting the WVU Transportation and Parking website.
This information was all recently posted in the “Transportation” section of WVU’s “Return to Campus” page on its website.