Transit District Statement: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Transit District Statement: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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SamTrans is committed to the health and safety of our passengers and staff. Please read our recent changes to service relating to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Service is still operational for riders that need to make essential trips. If you can stay home, please do so. If you must make an essential trip, please remember to wash your hands before and after riding, wear a face covering and stay at least six feet apart from others.

Service Changes

Due to San Mateo County’s shelter-in-place order, SamTrans has reduced or suspended service on various routes as of April 26, 2020.

Rear Door Boarding

SamTrans is boarding buses through the rear door to support the health of our operators. As a result, fares will not be collected at this time.

Face Coverings

SamTrans requires passengers to wear a face covering when riding or waiting for the bus, in accordance with San Mateo County’s latest Public Health Order.

Passenger Capacity & Social Distancing

To follow social distancing guidance, SamTrans bus operators will monitor the number of passengers on the bus. If there are too many people waiting at a stop to allow for proper social distancing on the bus, the operator will inform those waiting that the bus is at capacity and another bus is on the way. On certain routes it may take up to 20 minutes before a replacement bus arrives.

We appreciate everyone’s cooperation and apologize for any inconvenience.

Cleaning process

SamTrans cleans and sanitizes all buses daily with hospital grade products to keep passengers safe. For more information from San Mateo County Health, please visit their COVID-19 page.

Customer Service

Please check timetables for current information or call Customer Service: 1-800-660-4287 (7am to 7pm, weekdays; 8am to 5pm weekends).

The Customer Service window (1250 San Carlos Ave, San Carlos) is open from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday - Friday. Visit Clippper Card to set up autoload or buy SamTrans tickets by mail on our website.

Fare Policy

SamTrans is not collecting fares until further notice.

UPDATE, 4/20/2020

SamTrans Reduces Service in Response to Pandemic, Face Coverings Now Required Onboard

SamTrans will be implementing a modified schedule beginning Sunday, April 26, with service reductions on 31 routes. Riders and bus operators will also be required to wear face coverings onboard to comply with a San Mateo County Public Health Order issued on Friday, April 17.

This service change reflects SamTrans’ significantly reduced ridership since the shelter-in-place order took effect in March, with a drop of 65-70% across most routes. The adjustments will preserve the operation of service levels that allow residents to conduct essential travel.

In order to maintain social distancing, SamTrans will be monitoring ridership levels route-by-route, and will make adjustments as needed.

Most SamTrans routes will be operating on their Saturday schedules during the weekday. Routes 118, 274, 275 and 276 have seen such large dips in ridership that they will be removed from operation. Routes 270, 397, and 398 will operate as normal as they have not seen significant decreases.

Route ECR, the most popular route in the system, will run buses every 20 minutes on weekdays. The ECR will not have any changes to Saturday or Sunday service. Route FCX will only offer two trips in each direction during peak periods. Route SFO will have a 60 minute frequency, rather than the usual 30 minutes. SamTrans riders can see route-by-route information at

To read the full news release, click HERE.

UPDATE, 3/24/2020

SamTrans to Begin Rear-Boarding Practice

In an effort to comply with social distancing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, SamTrans has implemented rear-door boarding on buses with multiple doors in its fixed route service. ADA passengers and riders needing assistance will still be able to board through the front doors. Fare payment on these routes will not be required until further notice.

SamTrans continues to serve riders who rely on public transit for vital access to resources, and is committed to the well-being and health of our bus operators and riders. While onboard the bus, riders should try and stay six feet apart from fellow passengers. SamTrans is maintaining daily onboard cleaning and sanitation protocols in compliance with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines.

To read the full news release, click HERE

UPDATE, 3/16/2020

SamTrans Suspends School Routes

A Public Health Order has been issued that requires Bay Area residents in six counties, including San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, to shelter in place as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Public transit services, such as SamTrans, are identified as "essential" under the order and will continue to operate, however, use of public transportation is limited to essential required travel only.

SamTrans will continue to operate a non-school day schedule on weekdays. During the week, routes will not serve stops that are labeled as ‘School Days Only.’ Weekend service and paratransit service will operate unchanged. Ridership will be monitored closely to ensure that riders are able to practice social distancing in accordance with Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

Average weekday ridership has decreased by approximately 19% since COVID-19 containment efforts began. To read the full news release, click HERE.

UPDATE, 3/4/2020

In light of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the Bay Area, the San Mateo County Transit District is monitoring the situation and maintaining regular contact with local public health agencies, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The Transit District is the administrative body for the principal public transit and transportation programs in San Mateo County, including SamTrans bus service and Caltrain commuter rail service.

As reported by the CDC, the immediate risk posed by COVID-19 to the public remains relatively low. However, we understand this can raise concerns about safety in public spaces, including public transit. Therefore, we want to remind passengers about CDC-recommended precautions everyone should take onboard public transit to prevent the spread of illnesses:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after riding public transit. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoid eating while onboard.
  • Do not cough into your hands. Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow.
  • Stay home if you are sick.

While SamTrans buses and Caltrain trains are regularly cleaned and sanitized, following these recommendations is the best way to prevent the spread of illnesses onboard. To read the full news release, click HERE.

We will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds and respond as necessary in partnership with our public health and transportation partners.

Be safe, wash your hands and refer to public health agencies to minimize risk of exposure.

Jim Hartnett
General Manager/CEO, San Mateo County Transit District



SamTrans News 


March 13, 2020

Media Contact: Tasha Bartholomew, 650-508-7927