Transit rider restrictions lifted

With Gov. Jay Inslee’s removal of COVID-19 social distancing restrictions on public transportation as part of his decision to reopen the state, commuters will have fewer ridership restrictions beginning this month.

As vaccination rates continue to climb more people are expected to use transit this summer.

Transit agencies, including Kitsap Transit, are making changes. Beginning July 1, normal passenger capacity was returned to buses, ferries and vanpools. Some schedules have been adjusted, KT spokesman Sanjay Bhatt said.

Normal passenger capacity was resumed on Washington State Ferries. Customers will no longer be encouraged to stay in their vehicles during sailings.

The return to full capacity on transit services coincides with the announcements by the Seattle Mariners and the Seattle Storm that as of July 2, they will welcome full capacity crowds at their games. Seattle Sounders FC will do the same starting July 7. And the Seattle Seahawks and the University of Washington Huskies football teams plan to allow for full capacity crowds at home games this fall.

But not all restrictions have been discarded. Passengers still must wear masks on transit and at indoor transit facilities in compliance with a mandate by the federal Transportation Security Administration. Passengers also must continue to maintain a 6-foot distance from transit bus drivers, except when paying a fare.