The businesses of moving people around Jamestown have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, according to Maureen Wegenke, executive director of the James River Senior Center and James River Transit.

"We've been down as much as 61%," she said. "Now it's down about 47% so it is getting better little by little."

Wegenke said many of the travelers utilizing James River Transit are traveling for essentials like medical appointments and trips to purchase groceries and other necessary supplies.

"For a while, that was all we allowed," she said. "Things are opening up a bit now."

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live

Businesses opening and people moving about may help keep City Cab stay in business, according to Doug Fogderud, owner of the taxi service.

"Ridership was so far down it was impossible to stay in business," he said. "Last week with things starting to open up, it got better."

Cory Kunerth, owner of XLT Taxi, said for his company it was business as usual.

"Not bad," he said. "Noticeable, but nothing really changed."

All public transportation in Jamestown reported sanitizing the rider's space several times per day and usually disinfect the vehicles between every rider.

"No one upfront with the driver in the van," Wegenke said, referring to the special safety precautions taken at James River Transit. "A maximum of two riders on at any time and we try to screen the people when they call in."

Wegenke said in the case of a potential rider who is possibly ill, they suggest riders call their doctor before going out.

James River Transit also eliminated Sunday morning operations while the churches were previously not holding services. Some churches have reinstated Sunday public services.

James River Transit has also cut back on its staff.

"Some drivers temporarily declined to continue given the exposure to the public," Wegenke said. "We hope to get our full crew back before too long."

Senior Center Operations

For the James River Senior Center, the coronavirus pandemic has reduced activities the agency can provide across the board.

"Catering has been nonexistent," Wegenke said, referring to its catering business. "We hope to open the dining room on June 1."

Currently, the senior center provides home-delivered and packaged meals at the senior center for people to take with them and eat at home.

Along with the dining room opening, Wegenke said the center is considering other activities although she wasn't sure what that could be.

"We can't have a bingo game with a room full of people," she said. "It is a challenge all the way around."

Through it all, the senior center has continued to rely on volunteers for the home-delivered meals and other programs.

"Our volunteers have been amazing," Wegenke said. "We haven't had trouble finding volunteers through the whole time of the pandemic."