For nearly five and a half months, the Apache Transit fleet sat dormant, void of passengers due to the State of Emergency ordered by the San Carlos Apache Tribal Council. Apache Transit Drivers continued to perform pre- and post trip routine maintenance of all vehicles during the shutdown. Twice a week, they checked the fluids, tires, and took them out on a short trip then returned them to the yard where they sat, looking at the traffic racing past them.

On Monday, August 31, the San Carlos Apache Tribal Council announced the Tribe would be moving to Phase II of their mitigation plan. This lowered a few of the restrictions that were set in place to keep tribal members as safe as possible from COVID-19. One of the restrictions lifted was the reopening of the Apache Sky Casino, located in the southern-most part of the San Carlos Apache Reservation, near Dudleyville, Arizona.

The Nnee Bich’o Nii Program partnered with the Apache Gold and Apache Sky Casinos to provide transportation for their employees. This service is offered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at no cost to the employees. The casino covers the expense to provide reliable transportation for their employees and to ease the burden of the long-distance travel for the Apache Sky employees. The revenue generated from this arrangement is put toward future federal and state grant matches awarded to the Nnee Bich’o Nii Transit Services Program.

On Tuesday, Sept. 8, Apache Sky Casino opened their doors at 12 p.m. Apache Transit Drivers were ready at 6:45 a.m. and waiting for the day when they would be able to provide their services, once again. In accordance with CDC guidelines, the entire Apache Transit fleet has been outfitted with plexiglass barriers between the seats and around the driver. A seating chart has been created to keep passengers 6 feet apart. Masks are required and an automatic hand sanitizer dispenser has been installed in the buses. As always in pre- and post post trips, the transit drivers sanitize the buses before and after each trip, wiping down all surfaces, handrails, seats, barriers, and windows. They are doing their part to help stop the spread of the virus.

Lee Randall, general manager of the Apache Sky Casino, stated that they are very appreciative of the valuable and safe service provided to their employees by Apache Transit. He also stated that several of their employees were concerned that transportation might not be provided but Apache Transit has come through, as always.

Currently, this is the only route that Apache Transit is running. More routes will resume as restrictions are lifted. The Apache Transit drivers are standing by, patiently waiting, to greet their passengers and safely drive them to their destination in the near future. As Always, We Give Thanks to our Creator for today and for our Future Blessings yet to come!

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