McAllen transit to receive federal funds to offset costs during pandemic
Shuttles and buses navigate through McAllen’s arteries to keep people moving forward. Pandemic or not, thousands rely on these routes with more than 300 different stopping points.
McAllen’s transit department knows its essential role in the crisis. It continues operating, but it’s stressing its budget.
“There's been an increase in expenses, but also, obviously, revenues have been decreasing as a result of that as well,” said Mario Delgado, McAllen’s transit director.
People are still using these services. There’s just no money coming in. Delgado says they stopped charging fare in March. It’s a precautionary measure to limit contact between staff and passengers. Other measures to ensure cleanliness are also adding up.
“We're disinfecting buses almost hourly. And then, a more thorough deep cleaning every evening. So, it's constant throughout the day that the buses are being cleaned and disinfected and the facility as well,” Delgado explained.
The government took note of the stress placed on public transportation departments, setting aside money to keep these traffic streams open. McAllen is set to receive nearly $9.6 million to cover operating, preventative maintenance and administrative costs. That will help keep employees who are working more these days.
“It takes the entire of our staff to be able to continue our operations, but also be able to carry out all the additional daily tasks involved in making sure that we keep our buses, equipment and facilities clean and ready to go,” said Delgado.
Passengers won’t see a difference. Rides will continue to be free. Facilities and buses will be cleaned. That reliability and stability is what the city hopes to keep with the money its receiving.