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Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - Good news for Rochester’s public transit riders. 

Many of the neighborhood routes that were suspended in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic will resume service Sunday. 

Rochester Public Transit says this is the first step in restoring full service. RPT says weekday neighborhood routes will be restored with some exceptions.

 RPT says ridership has steadily increased since early April, when ridership hit a low point of just over 500 average weekday trips. Before the pandemic hit, boardings averaged more than 8,000 on weekdays.

A rider survey completed in June garnered 570 responses and was largely supportive of new safety measures put in place aboard RPT buses. A large number of riders also indicated a desire to have local neighborhood service return.

“Recent policy changes, like the resumption of enforcement in residential parking zones, and the upcoming change of seasons make this the right time to provide additional service,” says Physical Development Manager Ia Xiong.  “We hope adding these routes will fill an unmet need and spur additional ridership growth.”

 A project to renumber routes and expand geographic coverage, planned for this summer, was put on hold due to loss of ridership from COVID-19. A new date for that initiative has not yet been set.

Weekday direct routes will continue to run as they have been running for the last four months during core service. The 4D to Cub Foods and the 15D to Target south remain suspended and the park-and-rides at those locations are not in operation.

Routes 21-26 will operate on weekday evenings as well as weekends and holidays. Routes 1N, 3N, 7N, and 12N remain suspended. Weekend and holidays will run according to the published weekend and holiday schedule for Routes 21-26.

Route 3 is on a long term detour due to construction. Routes 14, 17 and 18 will continue to be suspended. Route 6M will increase service by adding additional morning and afternoon peak trips. 

 Complete schedule details are available on the Rochester Public Transit website.

It's primary day in Minnesota.