(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Transit agencies adjust service due to ridership drop

Public transit agencies on the Peninsula on Friday announced service adjustments for the coming week in response to decreased ridership due to efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Caltrain said that effective Tuesday, its Baby Bullet Service will not be offered during morning and afternoon peak hour operation. Local and limited Caltrain service will continue to operate as scheduled, as will off-peak service, including midday and weekend operation.

SamTrans, which is losing ridership due to school closures in San Mateo County, said it will operate on a regular, non-school day schedule on weekdays and that buses will not serve stops labeled “School Days Only.”

SamTrans said its average weekday ridership has decreased by about 19 percent since COVID-19 containment efforts began.

Caltrain said it is constantly monitoring ridership during this time and may implement more service changes, as needed. The updated weekday schedule is available at www.caltrain.com.

Sales of one-way and day pass tickets are down about 75 percent from levels two weeks ago.

“With no other dedicated source of funding, Caltrain relies primarily on fares to cover the system’s operating costs,” the agency noted in a news release.

Both agencies noted that they are maintaining daily onboard cleaning and sanitation protocols in compliance with Environmental Protection Agency guidelines. SamTrans said it is also distributing brochures on buses from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about how to minimize risk of exposure.

BART ridership has also plummeted. On Friday, ridership was 184,605 — a 50 percent drop compared to 375,170 on an average Friday last month, BART officials said.

Over the past two weeks, BART has seen a dramatic decline in riders, starting with a 5 percent drop on March 2. On Thursday, a 45 percent drop in ridership was tallied, with 231,820 riders compared to 417,531 on an average Thursday in February.

No coronavirus cases have been confirmed on BART thus far. BART has increased sanitation standards on all of its trains and stations.

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