In an effort to comply with social distancing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, on Wednesday SamTrans will begin implementing 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. Bay Area transit agencies are making a coordinated effort to keep essential transportation services available to the communities we serve. Due to severe ridership declines as a result of the public health order, transit agencies, like SamTrans, are now experiencing serious financial hardships that will require significant support from our local legislators. It is critical that State and Federal COVID-19 relief packages include funding for public transportation. Since the COVID-19 containment efforts began, SamTrans has experienced a 65-70% average weekday ridership loss. The bulk of subsidy for operating SamTrans comes from local sales tax, and the agency is anticipating significant declines in local sales tax revenue in the coming months. With zero fare collection in place, SamTrans anticipates monthly revenue fare loss of $1.3 million. If passengers have questions regarding fares, they should call the SamTrans Customer Service Center at (800) 660-4287 or (TTY) 650-508-6448 for those who are hearing impaired.

SamTrans releases study for possibly six new express bus routes

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SamTrans released a draft study outlining plans for possibly six new express bus routes that would be phased in over the next few years.

See the proposed routes in the map below. The so-called Draft Express Bus Feasibility Study, launched by $15 million in state funds, aims to improve transportation options and ease freeway traffic. The study is open for public comment until Friday, Nov. 16, on the project web page.

“The first two routes recommended by the study would run between Foster City and downtown San Francisco and between Palo Alto and the west side of San Francisco via Daly City starting in the summer of 2019 pending identification of funding and resources,” the transit agency said.

The remaining four routes would be implemented by 2023, but could begin sooner if funding becomes available.

The study recommends running peak-only service on most routes with buses every 20 minutes. The annual operation cost for each route as designed in the study ranges from $2 million to $4 million, the transit agency said.

The study is set for discussion at Nov. 7 SamTrans Board of Supervisors meeting. It is expected to go before the board for approval in December.

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