SANTA BARBARA — After more than a year of no fare collection due to the pandemic, the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District announced Tuesday that fares will be reinstated on May 10.
In order to give riders time to purchase passes in advance, the transit center will reopen on April 26, according to officials.
The transit center underwent renovation from summer of 2019 to the summer of 2020. It did not open to the public due to the pandemic and because MTD was not selling passes or collecting views. When the building reopens, the use of the interior will be limited to conducting a transaction and getting bus information, officials said.
Customers will not be able to remain inside the building to wait for their buses. The transit center hours will be 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays.
As of May 10, 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 to reduce cash handling.
Starting Thursday, Santa Barbara MTD will increase the number of passengers allowed on board all buses. Passengers are required to wear face coverings at all times on board all buses, at bus stops and in and around the transit center.
A total of 20 passengers will be permitted on a 40-foot bus, and 15 passengers will be allowed on 30-foot buses. This is up from the previous capacity of 15 passengers on a 40-foot bus and 10 on a 30-foot bus.
Officials said that all MTD buses are fully cleaned and disinfected each night, and protective barriers were recently installed between the driver cabin and the boarding area to provide an additional safety measure.
— Mitchell White