RTA makes changes after COVID-19 cluster near popular route

Posted at 4:32 PM, May 15, 2020

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A COVID-19 cluster at the STX Beef processing plant has raised new concerns about safety on public transportation.

It’s a familiar sight when the work day ends at STX Beef, hundreds of workers file out and head for the nearest bus stops.

The Number 27 bus runs past STX Beef in Annaville. That route runs from Robstown to the Staples Street Station near Dismas Charities, the halfway house also dealing with several cases of COVID-19.

While overall ridership is down around 60 percent during the pandemic, the Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority is increasing services on route 27. The CCRTA will use seven to 10 buses on that route to run past the plant everyday at quitting time. This allows all riders to get on a bus and socially distance themselves from others.

The CCRTA has also taken extra precautions, including regular cleaning and sanitizing of buses and stations.

In a statement, CCRTA Chief Executive Officer says: "the safety of our community members and employees is the CCRTA’s top priority. we will continue to be aggressive in our cleaning efforts, as we do our part in serving the community as an essential service.”

Meanwhile, riders say they'll keep using the bus.

“They’re doing whatever they can do, that’s all I can say,” said Antonio Duenes.

“A lot of people here, they’re afraid to get it,” added Joe Macias. “Well, if you’re gonna get it, you’re gonna get it somehow.”

Dismas Charities officials say all residents at their Corpus Christi facility are quarantined. They’re not leaving the halfway house, and not riding buses.

The CCRTA says all of its buses are thoroughly cleaned every night before going back into service the next day.