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The RTS bus system  now has its first electric buses.

There are 10 electric buses that are now part of a fleet of 214 buses. Bill Carpenter is the CEO of the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority. He said the buses were first announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo in January, when Cuomo talked about 5 transit authorities including Rochester, getting the vehicles. The goal is to have the fleet consist of 25% electric buses by 2025 and 100% by 2035.

Carpenter said that will certainly cut down on the pollution put out by the traditional diesel-fuel buses.

Free RTS bus rides to continue through April 29

Apr 9, 2020
Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority

The Regional Transit Service has extended its temporary fare waiver through April 29 to coincide with the extension of the state's shutdown order.

The bus service initially waived fares on March 19 through April 19, with the idea being to keep public transportation available for those who need it and cut riders a financial break during a health crisis that has robbed many of their livelihoods.

Rerouting of Rochester bus routes will be delayed

Mar 27, 2020
James Brown / / WXXI News

Regional Transit Service, the public bus system for Rochester and its suburbs, was supposed to launch new bus routes with more frequent service on June 29, along with some other operational changes.

Now, the effort is on indefinite hold.

On Friday, RTS officials announced it would delay the implementation of the redesign, known as Reimagine RTS, for the foreseeable future, citing complications stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

RTS riders ditch the bus — and that's OK

Mar 25, 2020
Max Schulte / WXXI News

The morning rush-hour bus from Webster to downtown Rochester was running mostly empty the other day, and that was just fine by Tracy Wyatt, one of the handful of passengers.

“You see people on the bus coughing without covering their mouths,” said Wyatt, who waited for an afternoon bus home at the Transit Center that afternoon wearing a makeshift mask she fashioned out of a scarf. “It’s a little frightening.”

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.

What’s new with RTS? This hour, we sit down with RTS CEO Bill Carpenter who shares a number of updates.

Reimagine RTS is a redesign of Monroe County’s public transit system that’s set to launch on June 29th. RTS is also launching new mobile technology and adding electric buses.

Carpenter joins us in studio to discuss the work underway with these projects and what customers can expect both now and by the end of June. In studio:

No cash? No problem soon for RTS riders

Jan 16, 2020
CITY File Photo

Regional Transit Service bus riders will soon be able to board buses without cash or passes.

The public transit agency is aiming to launch a cashless, mobile payment system for riders in April. RTS spokesperson Tom Brede told CITY the new option will work through the agency’s app and online accounts linked to a source of funds, such as a bank account, enabling riders to pay their fares as they board by scanning a code displayed on their smartphone screens.

Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

Officials at RTS have announced a new fare structure for military veterans, seniors and people with disabilities.

One of the changes involves the 50-cent half-price fare for seniors and people with disabilities that is currently in effect only during non-peak hours. 

With the new fare structure, that half-price fare would be in effect all day.

Also, with the new plan, military veterans would ride the bus for free.

Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority

Rochester’s Regional Transit Service has begun training its employees in a potentially lifesaving response to opioid overdoses.

Transit service workers are learning how to administer naloxone, often sold under the brand name Narcan, which can reverse an overdose.

The agency’s public information officer, Tom Brede, said it’s a reflection of how the opioid epidemic has become a “community crisis.”

“We’re not the emergency medical response,” Brede said, “but we do have a role.”