FRED bus (copy)

FRED buses serve Fredericksburg, along with Stafford and Spotsylvania counties.

The FREDericksburg Regional Transit bus service has gotten an injection of millions of dollars to help manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced the $7.6 million grant in a Thursday news release, which said the bus service will use the funds to “maintain service during the COVID-19 public health emergency.”

FRED buses serve Fredericksburg, along with Stafford and Spotsylvania counties.

Jamie Jackson, Fredericksburg’s director of public transit, said ridership has dropped by about half since the outbreak and that the grant “will help us keep operating.”

She added that passengers using the bus service seem to be sticking to taking essential trips, such as people going to work, many of whom are employed by area grocery stores, or doctor appointments.

The grant funds are part of the CARES Act, which is offering $25 billion to help public transportation agencies stay afloat during the pandemic and the ensuing stay-at-home orders, which has severely curtailed passenger use of such services.

Acting Federal Transit Administration head K. Jane Williams touted the importance of public transit and the grants.

“We know many of our nation’s public transportation systems are facing extraordinary challenges,” she said in the release, “and these funds will go a long way to assisting our transit industry partners in battling COVID-19.”

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436

sshenk@freelancestar.com

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