On Monday, fare collection and front-door boarding resumed for all AC Transit bus lines, with the exception of Tempo Line 1T.
AC Transit had to make “considerable onboard changes” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an AC Transit press release, including switching to rear-door boarding in compliance with emergency orders. Social distancing requirements and rear-door boarding meant that onboard fare collection could no longer take place.
The lack of fare collection has cost AC Transit approximately $1 million each week in revenue, the press release stated.
“Despite the dramatic loss in farebox revenues, the District forged ahead with the reNEW Plan to combat COVID-19,” the press release states. “Although costly, reNEW represents a series of internally designed initiatives to keep our essential service running.”
AC Transit’s reNEW plan includes providing personal protective equipment for employees and riders, daily anti-viral spraying and retrofitting more than 400 buses with protective shields. Fare restoration has been made possible due to these protective shields on AC Transit buses, according to the press release.
Although the restoration of fare collection will help to make up for the rising costs of COVID-19, it is not a solution on its own to AC Transit’s “fiscal crisis,” according to the press release.
“AC Transit joins transit agencies statewide in desperate need of $3.1 billion in emergency funding relief,” the press release states. “Funding support is critical to prevent temporary cuts from becoming permanent service actions.”