Bay Area Transit: What's Running, What's Not During Regional 'Shelter in Place' Order

An empty Muni bus in downtown San Francisco during the evening commute on March 13, 2020.  (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

Most Bay Area transit agencies say they will continue to operate on more or less normal schedules despite the “shelter in place” order health official have imposed on most of the region in an attempt to limit the spread of novel coronavirus.

The major exceptions to that "more or less normal" rule: San Francisco Bay Ferry and Golden Gate Transit, both of which announced major service cuts in the wake of the shelter in place announcement Monday. (See details below.)

The order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday and lasts through April 7. It designates public transit as an essential service that will continue to operate.

The directive — covering Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties as well as the city of Berkeley — also allows taxis and ride-hailing services Lyft and Uber to continue operations during the three-week stay-at-home period.

Here’s a breakdown of major transit agency plans:

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BART: The rapid transit agency will continue to operate normal service. That service will include trains long enough to allow passengers to observe "social distancing" guidelines and stay at least 6 feet from fellow riders. BART has experienced a costly plunge in ridership, which is down by as much as 50% on weekdays and 61% on weekends. More information: BART continues regular service during shelter in place.

San Francisco Muni: The Bay Area's busiest transit agency is suspending express bus lines running to the city's largely deserted Financial District. The following lines will not run Tuesday:
1AX/BX, 7X, 14X, 30X, 31AX/BX, 38AX/BX, 41, 81X, 82X, 83X, 88, 714, NX.

Jeffrey Tumlin, the city's director of transportation, said at a Monday evening press briefing the changes were designed "to reallocate service to our neighborhood lines and lines that serve our critical health care facilities so that our passengers can maintain social distancing while on the bus."

Muni is also shutting down its cable cars and E- and F-line streetcars and replacing them with bus shuttles. Tumlin said those changes are being made to insure that Muni operators can remain in partitioned cabs, with minimal exposure to passengers. More information: COVID 19 Developments and Response.

AC Transit: Bus agency has suspended supplemental bus service for schools throughout the East Bay. District spokesman Robert Lyles said Monday afternoon that AC Transit will continue to run its normal transbay and local bus service "until further notice.

Caltrain: Peninsula/South Bay rail agency is suspending its Baby Bullet express service between San Jose’s Diridon Station and the 4th and Townsend station in San Francisco. But Caltrain says it will continue to run its 55 local and limited trains— runs that take 25 to 35 minutes longer than the Baby Bullets to make the trip from San Jose to San Francisco. More information: Caltrain statement and new schedule effective March 17.

Golden Gate Transit: Marin County agency will reduce bus and ferry service between Marin County and San Francisco beginning Tuesday. Details here: Golden Gate Transit Service Adjustments.

San Francisco Bay Ferry: The Water Emergency Transportation Agency is slashing service starting Tuesday, suspending trips to Harbor Bay, Richmond, South San Francisco and San Francisco's Pier 41 and cutting several runs on its service between the San Francisco Ferry Building and Oakland/Alameda Main Street and Vallejo. The agency also canceled all weekend service. See the revised schedule.

SamTrans: The San Mateo County bus agency says it will continue running normal weekday service on a non-school-day basis (buses will skip stops marked "school days only" on schedules). More information: SamTrans to Maintain Service During Shelter in Place Public Health Order.

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority: VTA has suspended school service and shortened some of its light-rail runs from three-car trains to two- or one-car trains. Bus service continues on a normal basis, the agency says, pending an ongoing review of ridership data.

SMART: The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transportation Agency has canceled weekend service through April 5 but will continue with its normal weekday schedule "at this time."

WestCAT: Transit agency for western Contra Costa County has suspended school service but is continuing normal commute service.