Declining ridership prompts service decrease to nearly all routes
RIVERSIDE – Due to declining ridership triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, the Riverside Transit Agency will, with few exceptions, begin running a slimmed-down version of service on par with its reduced Sunday schedule. The new schedule is expected to begin Sunday, April 5, or as soon as feasible and last an indefinite amount of time.
The move to seven-day-a-week Sunday service will affect most of RTA’s 47 routes, cutting service to roughly half of normal weekday service. RapidLink Gold Line, Route 51 Crest Cruiser, Route 50 Jury Trolley, Route 55 Temecula Trolley and CommuterLink Express routes 202, 210 and 217 will cease operations until further notice. The exceptions are CommuterLink Express routes 204, 205, 206 and 208, which will operate on reduced schedules.
The remaining routes will operate on a Sunday schedule, which essentially provides fewer trips and less frequency than regular weekday service. Dial-A-Ride, which is a reservation-only service for eligible seniors and disabled customers, will continue to operate at normal service levels.
Customers are encouraged to contact RTA’s Customer Information Center at (951) 565-5002, visit https:// www.RiversideTransit.com, sign up for iAlerts or follow them on social media to stay informed about service adjustments. RTA’s administrative offices remain temporarily closed.
Over the past two weeks, RTA’s daily average ridership has dropped more than 65% due to businesses and schools closing and more people heeding warnings to stay home to stop the spread of the COVID-19. With dwindling customers, RTA is compelled to reduce service.
“RTA thanks its customers for being patient as we all work together to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and make sacrifices together that will eventually lead us back to normalcy,” RTA Chair Bridgette Moore said. “With public health orders restricting travel, we needed to make immediate changes. Our ridership has been significantly affected but we will continue to push forward and serve those who need us for essential travel.”
Because the Department of Homeland Security declared public transit and transit workers essential to the critical infrastructure, public transit agencies such as RTA remain open for business and continue to provide a vital service to those who need it most.
In an effort to help contain the spread of the coronavirus and to prioritize the safety of its customers and drivers, RTA is taking special care to maintain a clean environment aboard our buses, including the use of disinfectant on all areas with extra cleaning on high-touch areas, such as seats, seat backs, fare box, driver controls, handrails, etc.
In addition, drivers have the option of wearing protective masks, goggles and rubber gloves, carrying Lysol wipes and disinfectants to wipe down to the bus. Any driver who isn’t feeling well, is instructed to stay home as a precaution. RTA is continually monitoring situational updates and following guidance from regional, state and national health organizations regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
In a related move, RTA will also postpone a routine service adjustment originally planned for early May.
The Riverside Transit Agency provides public transportation for western Riverside County, operating 39 fixed routes, eight express routes and Dial-A-Ride service. RTA’s service area spans 2,500 square miles, among the largest in the nation. For bus route and schedule information, contact RTA at (951) 565-5002 or visit http://www.RiversideTransit.com.
Submitted Riverside Transit Agency.