SamTrans Increases Service, Enhances Boarding Procedures
As community needs and economic conditions stemming from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continue to influence public transit ridership, SamTrans is updating its schedule and operations effective Sunday, August 16. In addition to more frequent service, the agency will resume fare collection and front-door boarding with the installation of protective barriers that allow customers to pay their fare while avoiding contact with bus operators.
The new schedule restores more frequent service on 14 routes, including ECR, 120, 130 and 292, to accommodate increased ridership and allow for physical distancing onboard. The service plan also makes adjustments to routes primarily serving schools in response to their plans for distance learning. SamTrans will continue coordinating with schools to determine potential future restoration of school-day only service for high-need populations when students resume in-person learning. Updated timetables are available online. These changes are anticipated to be the first in a series of service updates as the agency continues to adapt in response to COVID-19.
“The drive behind this new schedule is to help support the Bay Area’s economic recovery,” said SamTrans General Manager Jim Hartnett. “In addition to expanding access to essential jobs and services for those who need it most, the service plan allows us to prepare for and respond to further shifts in ridership.”
SamTrans will continue to have extra vehicles available to provide relief, when possible, for physical distancing. Ridership is monitored closely to inform any future service changes and allow for physical distancing onboard.
With the resumption of fare payment and front-door boarding, customers are encouraged to use contactless payment methods like Clipper or the SamTrans Mobile app. Exact fare is required for cash payment as change cards are no longer issued onboard.
SamTrans reminds passengers to follow the following safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Face coverings must be worn at all times, including onboard and at bus stops. This requirement will be strictly enforced.
- Practice physical distancing and exit the bus at the rear door when possible.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow.
- Stay home if you feel sick.
SamTrans continues to maintain enhanced daily onboard cleaning and sanitation protocols using hospital-grade disinfectants in compliance with public health guidelines.
While passenger counts have moderately increased since June, more than 60% of ridership has yet to return since COVID-19 containment efforts began. Even as much-needed fare collection safely resumes, the bulk of SamTrans’ operating budget comes from local sales tax. The agency anticipates a significant decline in that revenue stream through the coming months.
For more information about SamTrans schedules and fares, call 1.800.660.4287 (TTY 650.508.6448) or visit www.samtrans.com. For the agency’s latest information related to COVID-19, visit www.samtrans.com/COVID-19.
About SamTrans: SamTrans operates 70 routes throughout San Mateo County. Funded in part by a half-cent sales tax, the San Mateo County Transit District also provides administrative support for Caltrain and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. SamTrans has provided bus service to San Mateo County customers since 1976.
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