SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF / BCN) – As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations dip to new lows, Golden Gate Bridge, highway and transportation district officials have started to relax distance requirements social Wednesday on all commuting in Marin County and San Francisco.
Transit vehicles and ferries will now only need 3 feet between passengers instead of 6 feet. But runners will still have to keep their masks on.
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The change comes as the agency’s bus capacity has fallen to less than 50% for all trips since the start of the pandemic.
“The vast majority of customers in the neighborhood are commuters from North Bay on their way to jobs in San Francisco, so until we see a large reopening of offices and businesses in the area, customers are unlikely to are coming back in significant numbers, ”Transit spokesman Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz said in an e-mail.
Golden Gate Transit’s approach throughout the pandemic has been to prioritize routes used by service workers. The agency suspended around 90% of commuter bus services for office workers, which also cut their bus service by around 50%.
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As more commuters return to work in person, the agency will be bringing back more bus and ferry trips in increments.
Robert Betts, director of operations and planning for Marin Transit, said their capacity changes are consistent with other reopening strategies in Marin County and are in part aimed at accommodating children who depend on public transit for get to school.
“We have seen continued growth in ridership since orders from state shelters ended in January and accelerated growth as students return to classroom instruction. This continued growth in ridership has led to an increase in passenger dropouts, which has an impact on access to transit services for students and other passengers, ”Betts said.
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Now almost all Marin Transit and Golden Gate Ferry routes will have 50% capacity for all passengers. The only exceptions to the policy are routes 101, 72, and 40 on the Golden Gate Transit, which go beyond Marin County and San Francisco.