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 to suspend ECR Rapid line, citing operator shortage

in Community/Featured/Headline

Due to a shortage of operators, SamTrans is set to suspend its ECR Rapid bus line from Daly City to Redwood City effective Jan. 19.

“SamTrans, like other transit agencies in the region, is working to recruit and train new operators. Route ECR continues to provide service along the El Camino Real corridor,” the agency said.

The ECR Rapid line launched in summer 2018 in order to speed up travel time along the El Camino Real route, the agency’s highest performing route with approximately 9,000 riders per weekday, the transit agency stated at the time.  No timetable was given for the Rapid line’s return.

Transit agencies nationwide are dealing with operator shortages that have forced service reductions, including SF Muni. Operator pay isn’t as competitive as it once was, City Lab states in its analysis of the shortage, adding that agencies are struggling to replace a steady exodus of retiring drivers.

Suspension of the ECR Rapid line was among a number of service modifications announced by SamTrans. The transit agency reviews its service three times per year, aiming to respond to traffic impacts, customer travel patterns and other variables like the summer break for schools. Its next schedule change is expected in June.

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