The Jacksonville Transportation Authority is getting more than $15 million from the federal government to help maintain service during the coronavirus pandemic.
The grant comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation, which got $25 billion to help maintain the nation's public transportation systems as part of the CARES Act signed by President Donald Trump last month.
"This historic $25 billion in grant funding will insure our nation's public transportation systems can continue to provide services to the millions of Americans who continue to depend on them," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
JTA said it would use the money to cover COVID-19 related expenses for operation and maintenance, like personal protective equipment for bus drivers and extra cleaning and disinfecting of facilities and vehicles.
The money will also be used to cover revenue losses from lower ridership and reduced services.
"Many of our nation's public transportation systems, such as JTA, are facing financial hardship as a result of this pandemic," said U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, D-FL5. "These federal funds will help support travel for our essential workers and continue to pay JTA employees who are unable to work because of COVID-19."
Weekday ridership has dropped by 50% to 60% since the coronavirus pandemic began, according to JTA spokesman David Cawton.
"Normal ridership hovers around 33-34k each weekday. Since about mid-March, that number has been 12-13k per day," he wrote in an email to WJCT News.
Cawton said JTA is also looking to get additional funding to help overcome the challenges posed by the coronavirus.