MTD Bus Offers Free Rides and Reduced Service
Effective Thursday, March 19, 2020, Santa Barbara MTD will be lowering service levels on several lines associated with area educational institutions, in light of these schools ceasing campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally on Thursday, all MTD fixed-route bus service will be provided free of charge until further notice. Passengers without disabilities will be directed to use the rear door of the vehicle for boarding and alighting to minimize contact with bus operators at the front door and farebox area. Passengers using mobility devices or who need the ramp will be allowed to board and alight from the front door of the vehicle.
As described below, Transit Center Customer Service functions will be changing, as will public access to the MTD Administrative Offices.
Earlier this week on Monday, March 16, 2020, all booster services to Junior Highs and High Schools were cancelled. This cancellation will continue until further notice.
Beginning the morning of Thursday, March 19, 2020, the following service changes will go into effect, until further notice:
This service level mimics the service level provided during Spring Break, when SBCC, UCSB, and Santa Barbara Unified School District are all closed.
UC Santa Barbara will still be accessible by bus on Lines 11, 24x, and 27. The Santa Barbara City College area will still be accessible by bus on Lines 4, 5, and 17.
Passengers with questions about schedules and affected routes can call (805) 963-3366 for assistance.
Transit Center Customer Service
Transit Center facilities will still be operating on normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 6am to 7pm, and weekends, 9am to 5pm), but no walk-up sales or person-to-person transactions of any kind will be available; however, the two Ticket Vending Machines at the Transit Center will still be operational and accept cash, debit and credit cards. The public may still ask questions through the window or call (805) 963-3366.
In addition to help over the phone, the public is encouraged to contact MTD with any questions or concerns via thesbmtd.gov website, by emailing [email protected], or through the agency’s Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts, all @santabarbaramtd.
MTD Administrative Offices
Additionally, effective March 19, 2020, MTD’s administrative office reception area at 550 Olive Street will be closed to visitors. Customers needing to make bulk pass purchases may do so upon appointment only. To arrange for a pass purchase during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm), please call (805) 963-3364.
The public is reminded to stay home if they are sick, follow proper health hygiene practices, and maintain appropriate social distance on buses, at the Transit Center, and at bus stops.
MTD Taking Additional Precautions Due to COVID-19 Situation
Santa Barbara MTD is actively responding to the possibility of the spread of COVID-19 virus by taking additional precautions to protect bus riders and the MTD workforce. Along with the rest of the transit industry, MTD leaders are closely following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD).
Additional disinfecting of the bus fleet is taking place nightly, using hospital grade disinfectant on all high-touch surfaces such as door handles, stanchions, seat back handles, grab bars, fareboxes, and driver areas. Portable toilets at the temporary Transit Center are outfitted with hand sanitizer dispensers.
All bus services are currently running on a normal schedule.
While there are currently no identified cases of the COVID-19 virus in Santa Barbara County, MTD encourages community members to follow smart health practices by doing the following, as recommended by the CDC and the PHD:
- Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Sneeze or cough into the crook of your elbow.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay away from work, school, transit, and other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.