SANTA BARBARA—After over a year of no fare collection due to the pandemic, today Santa Barbara MTD is announcing the reinstatement of fares as of Monday, May 10, 2021. In order to give riders time to purchase passes before that date, the Transit Center will reopen on Monday, April 26, 2021.
The Transit Center underwent renovation from summer of 2019 to the summer of 2020, but did not open to the public due to the pandemic and the fact that MTD was not selling passes or collecting fares. While the building will reopen on Monday, April 26, the use of the interior will be limited to two types of activities:
1. Conducting a transaction
2. Getting bus information
At this time, customers will not be able to remain inside the building to wait for their buses, in order to allow sufficient physical distancing for those individuals conducting business. Transit Center hours will remain the same: 6:00a.m. until 7:00p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9:00a.m. until 5:00p.m. on weekends and holidays.
On Monday, May 10, 2021, all passengers will be required to board through the front door of the bus and pay a fare via cash or pass. Customers are encouraged to purchase their passes with debit or credit cards at the Ticket Vending Machines, in order to reduce cash handling.
“Throughout the pandemic, MTD has placed the safety of our customers and employees first, while serving essential workers, and the community as a whole. As we transition back to fare collection, we appreciate the community support for our health and safety protocols and our team of Customer Service Representatives is ready to welcome our loyal passengers into the newly renovated Transit Center,” said General Manager Jerry Estrada.
Additionally, beginning Thursday, April 15, 2021, Santa Barbara MTD will increase the number of passengers allowed on board all MTD buses. Federal law requires that passengers wear face coverings correctly at all times on board all buses, at bus stops, and in and around the Transit Center.
Load limits will be increased as follows: 20 passengers on a 40 foot bus and 15 passengers on a 30 foot bus. This is up from the previous capacity of 15 passengers on a 40 foot bus and 10 on a 30 foot bus.
As has been the case since March of 2020, all MTD buses are fully cleaned and disinfected every night, following transit industry best practices. Protective barriers were recently installed between the driver cabin and the boarding area to provide another measure of safety for bus operators and passengers.