Rochester Regional Transit Service

Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority

RTS has announced a plan that will allow military veterans to ride for free on its fixed-route buses starting July 15.

That free fare for veterans was actually first announced a year ago as a result of the public hearing process for Reimagine RTS. That is a redesign of the transit system that has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello says public transit is a necessity for many local veterans.

James Brown / / WXXI News

All RTS rides will be free starting Friday until further notice. CEO Bill Carpenter said that'll limit the amount of times the fare box is touched during the coronavirus outbreak. 

An RTS employee tested positive for COVID-19 this week, but Carpenter says this decision is unrelated.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

Monroe County no longer has enough testing capacity to keep up with the demand for diagnosing COVID-19, public health commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said at a press conference on Wednesday.

“In the last two days, we’ve had a large spike in demand,” Mendoza said, adding that the health department would need to prioritize the processing of some people’s specimens but could not yet give details about how those decisions will be made.