KRT looking for bounce back with schedule change

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an impact on the KRT bus system in Kanawha County.

Ridership continues to be down 40% since the pandemic began, KRT General Manager Doug Hartley told members of the KRT Board Thursday. Hartely is hopeful November will show an increase after KRT returned to its regular route schedule on Nov. 8. It had been on a Saturday schedule.

Hartley said CARES Act funding has gotten the system through the pandemic.

“It’s made a huge difference because not only are our expenses up to try and keep our workforce up but our passenger revenue has been down $40,000 a month,” he said.

KRT has used to CARES Act funding to stay away from route reductions and fare increases.

KRT workers have been paid $4 a hour more during the pandemic but Hartley said they may be coming to an end before January.

“Our board in December will probably ask me what everybody (other transit systems are doing) are doing. As of right now it’s (pandemic pay) is scheduled to end Dec. 31,” he said.

The pandemic has forced KRT to cancel its annual Christmas Party for workers which usually includes an all-day buffet for the workers and their families.

“It’s a great fellowship time but with COVID-19 it would just be unwise to do that. We regret having to cancel it. The union completely understands,” Hartley said.

Also Thursday, KRT announced plans to replace five smaller buses within the next year.