Apr 08

Be a PART of our Response to COVID-19

Posted on April 8, 2021 at 3:15 PM by Sabrina Glenn

With all the changes in our everyday lives related to COVID-19, PART has had to respond by making changes to help ensure the safety of our drivers, riders, and overall community. Everything we’ve done has been geared to making sure that public transit is as safe as possible.

#MaskUpForTransit. When riding with PART, it is important to ensure you follow proper mask guidelines like making sure your mask covers not only your mouth but your nose as well. Also, wear a mask that you cannot blow air through; this will help to keep your airflow and bodily fluids contained. As of February 1st, 2021 TSA, SD1582/84-21-01 mandated that all public transportation workers and riders 2 years or older must wear face masks at all times while on public transit vehicles or in transit facilities.

                When riding with PART we also ask that you are mindful about social distancing. While it’s not always possible to be six feet apart, we encourage you to do your best not just when riding, but when boarding our buses as well. During the boarding process we ask that only one person enter at a time to create as much social distancing as possible. Passengers who are exhibiting visible signs or symptoms of the Coronavirus will be asked to deboard the PART Express bus. We take this very seriously because it is for the safety of all other riders and to maintain our community’s safety.

We’re encouraging all passengers to use PARTs TouchPass contactless payment system. Passengers can download the TouchPass App from your PlayStore or purchase a TouchPass Reusable Smartcard at the Coble Transportation Center (CTC) or you can order one online. Making the transition to digital fare payments will not only help lower the spread of COVID-19, but it can save you time and money. When you ride with Umo, you receive free transfers and simply tap or scan to quickly board the bus. Cash is still accepted on PART Express buses, but we do not provide change cards or transfer tickets. We encourage you to have exact change for each bus that you board.

We’re all looking forward to our return to normal. But until then, we’re asking you to do your PART in taking the proper precautions when riding. For a full list of information on PART’s COVID-19 activities, visit www.partnc.org/covid19.

Mar 24

Transportation's New Normal

Posted on March 24, 2021 at 10:04 AM by Sabrina Glenn

The phrase “new normal” has been thrown around a lot over the past year. When it comes to transportation and transit planning, we’ll know when we’ve hit the new normal when the specific factors we track remain consistent for at least three months.

For PART, understanding when we have settled into a new normal is critical. Not only does it help us make route adjustments and other operational decisions, but there are two regional studies related to travel behavior on hold; one is related to freight and delivery truck movements and the other to household travel. These studies could help the Triad for years to come, and we want to make sure the data we gather is as close to stable as possible.

That’s why we’ve been collecting and analyzing data trends throughout the COVID-19 pandemic that impact our region’s roadways, looking to see when they might start to normalize. We track specific factors to help us understand how traffic volumes and patterns may change including:

  • social and economic factors
  • COVID-19 infection and vaccination metrics
  • transportation and traffic numbers

Social & Economic Factors

We look at government restrictions and school policies along with unemployment rates. Typically, work-related trips only account for one-third of all trips, but the majority of peak traffic time. This means that lower unemployment rates could signal a normalization of traffic patterns.

COVID-19 Metrics

There is no baseline to compare COVID-19 infection rates to, but the number of active cases can indicate other trends, such as how likely people are to travel or visit local businesses. And experts have said that 70-80% of the population will need to be vaccinated before we have an umbrella of immunity, so watching those numbers can help us make informed predictions.

Transportation & Traffic

We look at public transportation ridership for all the agencies in the region along with traffic patterns in general. NCDOT shares information on traffic for cities across the state. We also examine trip generation over time which allows us to infer how many people are remote working.

The initial impacts COVID-19 had on traffic were easy to see. Understanding when volumes and patterns normalize will be challenging. Stay-at-home, no school, remote working and take out or delivery have not only lowered traffic volumes but also changed traffic patterns. Tracking the factors above will tell us when a return to normal occurs or when the new normal is reached so we can continue to help commuters across the Triad get where they need to go.

Feb 11

Driving Smiles: PARTs Commitment to Customer Service

Posted on February 11, 2021 at 12:02 PM by Sabrina Glenn

Customer service at PART starts simply with answering questions and providing information on how to ride. Our call center and station team members can help riders find the best way to get to their destination.

But helping our riders with schedule and route details is just the beginning. As customer service/ticket agent Erma Smith said, “You never know what the next person you talk to may be going through.” That’s why she challenges herself to brighten their day, trying to see their smiles beam, even through their masks.

Every day our PART team works with the community to make sure they can get where they need to go. Sometimes this means solving problems outside the typical requests. Last December, an elderly passenger came into the CTC, a little confused about where he was and wanting to call his wife. Without hesitation, Erma asked for her name and if she could hold his cell phone. After he spoke with his wife, she asked to talk with Erma, requesting that she stay with her husband until they could come pick him up.

Erma was happy to sit with him, saying it reminded her of talks with her grandfather. She was grateful to be able to help him and his family. “The relief on her face and tears of joy that his daughter in law had when she came through the door and saw him sitting there truly blessed me. Before leaving they both thanked me and at that moment was confirmation that jobwise I am exactly where I am supposed to be.”

And this is just one example of the outstanding service our team is dedicated to providing. Whether it’s our supervisors who provide medical assistance when needed or our driver’s who ensure our passengers are arriving safely, we are so proud to of the hard work and dedication they provide.