Scorching temperatures, pandemic hits homeless

Local News

Angell Price, a homeless man who depends on city transportation said social distance guidelines are making it harder for some to escape the heat.

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Many homeless people are already hard-hit by the pandemic are battling summer heat.

Blazing temperatures this past week are forcing homeless people to turn to CityLink Transportation to keep from experiencing heat exhaustion.
But some riders said some of the bus drivers aren’t being fair.

Angell Price, a homeless man who depends on city transportation, said social distance guidelines are making it harder for some to escape the heat.

“Right now the government has a mandate where you only ride the bus for necessary things. Necessary things sometimes are because it’s too hot outside and people can’t breathe. I have a hard time breathing, so like its easier to sit there and hop on a bus that has air conditioning if you have nowhere to go,” Price said.

Price said he has asthma and can’t afford to be in the heat so he stays on the bus all day hoping he doesn’t get caught. He said he starts his bus route at 10 a.m. Price said he rides the bus for about four hours hopping routes before he’s kicked off.

“They won’t kick me off until about two-ish and I’ll get kicked-off for about three, four hours and then I get back on,” he said.

Citylink is allowing free travel during the pandemic. Travelers have to social distance and wear a mask, but Price said CityLink can do more to help passengers trying to stay cool.

“I would like CityLink to understand that the coronavirus is, yes, it’s spreadable but it’s not just gonna spread it two-seconds to take a quick drink if they are dying of thirst,” he said. But they will kick you off the bus if you don’t have your mask on.”

A CityLink Official said there are no policies in place stating passengers cannot ride the bus for an extended amount of time, though it is discouraged because of the virus. She said it is up to the bus driver to make that decision, adding the only requirement for passengers is to wear a mask at the bus stop and on the bus.

CityLink also said the cooling stations are not operating right now because of the virus.

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