City, Sunport address transportation concerns amid coronavirus fears

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The mayor’s office said it has a plan to respond to coronavirus concerns, as health fears don’t seem to be keeping people away from bus stops or the airport.

Fliers at the Albuquerque International Sunport on Wednesday said they weren’t swayed from taking their planned trips. “There are arguments on both sides about whether we should be worried about it and other evidence leading to that we shouldn’t be worried about it,” Dearse Howard, who flew into the Sunport from Houston, said.

While the Sunport doesn’t have any international flights, there are airlines that have connections from other countries, including Delta and Air Alaska.

In a statement, the Sunport said staff has increased “cleaning and sanitation of high-touchpoint public areas, added additional cleaning of restroom facilities, and is continually monitoring and filling public hand sanitizer stations. The Sunport has ensured that cleaning products utilized throughout the terminal are on the EPA’s list of recommended disinfectants.”

Officials added that as the situation evolves, airline flight schedules could change or be reduced, affecting flights into and out of the Sunport. They recommend passengers contact their airline directly for flight information. 

KRQE News 13 asked the Sunport and the Environmental Health Department how they’re keeping track of travelers who are coming here from countries impacted by the virus but did not get a response.

Meanwhile, bus riders voiced their concerns about what health protocols are in place on the city’s public transportation.

“They need to wipe down those seats and wipe down the bars and the doors, handles, where you push on the door,” bus rider Mark Bracken said.

In a press release sent late Wednesday, the city said all city facilities, “including the Sunport; Westside Emergency Housing Center; Senior, Community, and Multi-Generation Centers; and all Public Transit vehicles and facilities will be periodically slated for additional cleaning.”

ABQ Ride on Thursday said service is running as normal and that the department is bringing in 10 additional temporary staff to clean and disinfect every bus and Sun Van nightly.

The department released the following statement: “ABQ RIDE will place new information about any service changes or updates on its message monitors at ART platforms, push notices on the ABQ RIDE App, ABQ RIDE website, Text2Ride service, social media platforms, and signs on fare boxes on the buses. 311 is also a great resource for people looking for information.”

As for Rail Runner commuters, Mid-Region Council of Governments said crews are giving the trains extra wipe-downs and are continuing their education campaign on their website.

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