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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News)  It has lasted close to a year, but it will soon no longer be free to ride a city bus in Rochester.

Rochester Public Transit today announced it will resume collecting fares from riders on January 24th. That is also the day passengers will resume boarding buses through the front door.

RPT suspended collecting bus fares last April and had passengers board its buses through the rear door in an effort to protect the drivers from COVID-19. A news release says acrylic barriers have now been installed near the farebox on Rochester Public Transit's fleet of fixed-route vehicles to provide an additional measure of protection for the drivers.

RPT is continuing to require face coverings for passengers and drivers and is limiting each bus to 50 percent capacity.

“Safety of our passengers and operators is always our number one concern,” says Physical Development Manager Ia Xiong. “With safety barriers now in place we are able to move public transit in Rochester forward with confidence.”

Rochester Public Transit will also be changing the numbering on 16 of its routes on January 24th. While the numbering is changing, there will not be any schedule or geographic coverage changes at this time. The news release indicates the route number changes are part of the enhancements included in RPT's 2017 Transit Development Plan and are designed to be easily understood by new riders and allow for future expansion.

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