When the city instituted a rule that riders and drivers of City-Line Trolleys must wear face coverings, the community stepped up to ensure they had what they needed get a ride.
Though the city purchased face coverings to give out to riders and drivers, Tammy Corn, transportation director, said the homemade masks that were being donated were much more fun, comfortable, and appreciated than the ones that were being provided.
“We’ve always had face coverings for the riders, but we definitely appreciate (the donations) because masks are so much nicer for people,” said Corn.
The transportation system has received donations of masks from many individuals who Corn said were looking to help and give back. Several people dropped off blue surgical masks, while others were making their own. Corn’s friend, Staci Simmons, donated 70 homemade masks that were lined with a filter, and she was working on another batch to donate.
Kokomo resident Ruth Mann also dropped off 30 homemade masks. Mann began making masks after Jo-Ann Fabric handed out free kits with mask templates. She made a set of masks for a hospital, and then she realized she had a lot of leftover quilting fabric and decided to put it to good use. After hearing that City-Line Trolley riders needed to wear face coverings, she decided to make some for the transportation department.
Mann said she hoped the masks would bring cheer to some of the riders. When her mother was sick, Mann made her a quilt, dubbed “Color My World,” from bright, colorful fabric that her mother picked out. She used the leftover fabric from it to make 30 bright masks.
“The thing is the fabric is so bright and colorful. It’s what I made for my mom when she was sick, and she wanted really bright colors. I thought the bus is going to be colorful, and they might enjoy it,” she said.
Mann said her mother, who since has passed, would be happy the extra fabric from her quilt was put to good use.
“I didn’t expect it to become masks, but it makes me happy in a way. I think my mom would have liked that other people can wear the nice, bright, happy colors she picked out,” Mann said, adding that she was going to continue making masks as long as people needed them, and she had supplies.
While people still are riding the trolley, Corn said numbers are down significantly. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 1,400 to 1,500 people rode the trolleys daily. That’s dropped to around 400 riders a day.
As for the para-transit system, which gives rides to seniors and the disabled, around 575 to 700 trips were scheduled daily. Now, they average around that much a week.
Corn said riders have been asked to take essential trips only, and she said the numbers indicated that they were.
“We’re trying very hard to make sure that people are safe,” she said.
Corn said people have been calling, inquiring about whether transit would close, and she said she assures them that it won’t.
“We’re not closing transit. We know we have to get people to dialysis and chemo and grocery stores and to work if they work in essential departments,” she said. “We understand how important it is for people. It’s a tough situation for anybody out there.”
Corn said continued donations of masks are appreciated as the trolley system and para-transit continue to get people around the city. For information on how to donate, call City-Line Trolley at 765-456-7556.