Madison transit buses, recycling center shut down

EAST DAKOTA Transit posts this photo of its buses and logo on its website. The Madison-based bus service closed its operations on Monday afternoon due to health concerns caused by the COVID-19 virus.

East Dakota Transit officials announced via Facebook messaging on Monday that the Madison-based, bus transportation service would suspend its operations at the end of the day.

The transit officials will make an announcement when their buses go back into operation.

Scott Finck, East Dakota Transit manager, said on Tuesday that the employees at the bus transportation service were dedicated to "providing a safe and reliable service" but that providing that service was made more complicated by the COVID-19 virus.

"Right now, we're thinking about the health and safety of our employees and the community," Finck said. "As for when we'll reopen, that's a day-by-day, week-by-week decision."

According to Finck, when transit officials reopen the bus service, they'll send out Facebook messages, contact local news outlets, and place the information on the bus service's voicemail system. The dispatcher number for East Dakota Transit is 256-5810.

During the school year, East Dakota Transit operates two buses in Madison. The bus service reduces to one during summer months.

Bus riders call a dispatcher 24 hours in advance of their ride needs to organize a pick-up time. The bus transportation service was originally established to assist patrons at Valiant Living, Community Counseling and Inter-lakes Community Action Partnership. Its ridership grew to include school students, children going to day-care services, and the general public. The East Dakota Transit bus is also equipped with a wheelchair lift.

The buses provide rides to persons going to school, medical appointments, grocery and retail stores, the community wellness center, and other destinations.

Finck said that East Dakota Transit employs four part- and full-time drivers, a part-time dispatcher, and himself.

City recycling center closed

Madison officials announced on Monday that they would immediately close the Madison Recycling Center, located on S.W. 7th St., to the public due to COVID-19 concerns.

The announcement, posted on the Facebook page of the city's Public Works Department, said that city officials would re-evaluate the recycling center closure on April 1. It also stated that licensed solid-waste haulers would continue to collect recyclable material according to their normal schedules.

Spring electronics drop-off postponed

Madison and Lake County officials have decided to not hold a spring electronics recycling drop-off event, typically held at the Madison Recycling Center.

Officials with the Lake County Natural Resource Office and the city decided to cancel the drop-off due to complications with event logistics, social distancing, and the health concerns of staff, volunteers and residents. The organizers will try to schedule a fall drop-off event.

Lake County residents can dispose of electronic devices, free of charge, at the Household Hazardous Waste Facility, located near the North Cliff Avenue Hill in Sioux Falls.