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TheRide, Washtenaw County partner to provide shuttles to mass COVID vaccination site

Service to operate between Eastern Michigan University, transit centers

A TheRide bus in downtown Ann Arbor.
A TheRide bus in downtown Ann Arbor. (Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority)

ANN ARBOR – The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (TheRide) has partnered with the Washtenaw County Health Department to provide transportation to and from the county’s mass COVID vaccination site at Eastern Michigan University’s Convocation Center.

Service began on Wednesday and anyone who has a scheduled appointment at the EMU site can use the shuttles. Rides are free and the fares are paid for by federal CARES Act funding.

“TheRide is grateful to be able to support our community by providing this service,” Deputy CEO of Operations at TheRide Bryan D. Smith said in a news release. “Thanks to CARES Act Funding, we’re able to provide access in our community and help eligible residents in our area, who otherwise would not have the ability to get to the Washtenaw County Health Department’s vaccine clinic.

People sit in the waiting area at EMU's Convocation Center at 799 N Hewitt Rd. in Ypsilanti. (Jeremy Borton | St. Joe's)

“We thank Golden Limousine for their help in coordinating the FlexRide service for those individuals not within our fixed-route service area.”   

Washtenaw County Health Department health officer Jimena Loveluck said the department is thankful for the partnership and encouraged residents to get vaccinated when they can.

“This is an important step in making our mass vaccination site at EMU more accessible. We’re thankful to the TheRide for working with us to provide transportation at no cost to riders,” Loveluck said in a news release. “As supplies and options for getting vaccinated locally increase, we encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as they have the opportunity to do so.” 

The Health Department’s mass vaccination site at EMU is staffed by medical professionals from St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, members of the National Guard and hundreds of volunteers.

The shuttles will operate Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

All passengers are required to wear face masks when riding and waiting for public transportation.

More information about the shuttle service from Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti to the EMU site:

  • Ann Arbor: Shuttles start at the Blake Transit Center on 4th Ave and use the Route 32 boarding location
  • Ypsilanti: Shuttles start at the Ypsilanti Transit Center on Pearl St. and use the Route 5 boarding location
  • All Shuttles drop off and pick up using the COVID Vaccine Center entry and exit doors.
  • The shuttles operate every 30 minutes
  • The shuttles are limited to 20 individuals per vehicle.

A-Ride trips also began on Wednesday to the EMU Convocation Center and are free to riders who present an A-Ride Identification Card.

When reserving a spot, riders are asked that they mention they are are going to get vaccinated at the EMU Convocation Center.

FlexRide service will be providing service to areas outside TheRide’s fixed route service area in Pittsfield, Scio and Superior Townships and Ypsilanti.

More information about the FlexRide service:

  • Visit MyFlexRide.org or call 734-794-0377 to make a reservation.
  • Each trip on FlexRide is limited to one household per trip
  • FlexRide services are provided through a contract with Golden Limousine.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, TheRide is taking the following measures to keep riders and drivers safe:

  • Customers are required to wear a face covering, per federal law
  • The driver is to be approached for emergencies only
  • Buses cleaned with CDC recommended protocols
  • Transit centers are open for customer transactions only
  • Social distancing signs are posted at transit centers and in buses
  • Fewer passengers allowed on each bus
  • Plastic barriers added to separate drivers and riders
  • Sanitation supplies provided to employees
  • Masks, gloves and face shields are provided for drivers use
  • Lost and Found collection has been temporarily suspended

For more information and to check routes and schedules, visit TheRide.org or by call 734-996-0400.


About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.