Ten days ago, I decided to make a record of how COVID-19 (coronavirus) has affected transportation providers in Fresno and the surrounding areas – including the Bay Area and LA region. This post is a follow-up, to chronicle what has changed since. I have also added a few agencies I missed last week. It is sort of lucky I waited until today to make this, instead of last Sunday, as a bunch of changes go into effect today!
Fresno Area Express (FAX)
Officially, no changes to the schedule, but the system has been struggling with drivers calling out, as seen in this tweet:
This makes Fresno one of the only transit systems to continue running full service.
Fortunately, Fresno Area Express received live, real-time tracking of buses a couple of years ago, so you can see if your bus is really coming. The previous changes, as of March 17, were:
- Limit of 10 passengers per bus (exceptions possible on hourly route)
- Onboard hand sanitizer dispensers
- Handy Ride service ends at 9pm, unless request is made in advance
- Enhanced cleaning of the buses
- Started Wednesday April 8, all service is free to decrease contact with the driver
- Starting March 23, holiday schedule
Fresno County Rural Transit Agency
- No changes that I could find
Bakersfield GET Bus
- Starting March 23, weekend schedule every day
- As of April 8, no fares collected, board through back door on all routes, but regular service continues
- Limit of 9 passengers per bus
- Also in January, apparently they moved routes around but I don’t know enough about the system to tell you what changed
V-Line (Visalia to Fresno)
- Full service
Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS)
- Starting March 25, limited service between Merced and El Portal (Yosemite is closed).
VTA (San Jose)
- Light rail service to return April 9 at 30 minute intervals, Monday to Friday, 6am to 6pm.
- As of March 30, all light rail routes suspended
- Except for one bus line, no service after 9pm
- No fares to be collected
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)
- Starting April 8, trains to run every 30 minutes on weekdays, every 20 minutes on Saturday, and every 24 minutes on Sunday. The odd schedule is because of the way the system is set up to allow for timed transfers
- BART will take the opportunity to conduct additional tunnel maintenance
- Starting March 23, Monday-Friday service from 5am-9pm (instead of 5am-midnight).
- Starting March 28, Saturday and Sunday service from 8am-9pm (instead of 6am-midnight).
San Francisco MUNI
- Starting April 8, only 17 bus routes to operate, and “late-night” Owl service starts at 10pm instead of 1am (see map below)
- 7 bus routes eliminated on April 7
- Starting March 30, all Muni Metro and light rail routes replaced by buses
Sacramento Regional Transit
- Starting March 23, Sunday schedule on all routes, plus some regular express routes
Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART)
Los Angeles Metro
- Starting March 23, trains run every 12 minutes during the day and every 20 at night
- Starting March 22, rear-door boarding on all buses
- Starting March 20, Metro Rail service ends at midnight
- Bus service reduced by 15%-20%
Amtrak San Joaquin
- Starting March 26, 3 daily trains to Sacramento suspended and replaced by bus connections
- Cafe car closed
- Indoor waiting areas at Hanford (HNF), Fresno (FNO), Merced (MCD), and Modesto (MOD) closed
- Many modifications to thruway bus service
This leaves 4 daily trains in the Central Valley. Departing Bakersfield at 4:12am, 8:12am, 12:12pm, and 4:12pm. Departing Oakland at 7:36am, 9:36am, 1:36pm, and 5:36pm
Amtrak Capitol Corridor
- Starting March 21, a reduction from 15 daily trains between Sacramento to Oakland to just 5. From Oakland to San Jose, a reduction from 7 to just 1 daily train. No service beyond Sacramento.
- Cafe car closed
- Many bus connection modifications, including the elimination of bus service to Monterey
Amtrak Pacific Surfliner
- Starting March 19, only 6 trains a day between Los Angeles and San Diego – down from 14 daily.
- Service north of Goleta suspended
Altamont Corridor Express (ACE)
- Starting April 6, weekday service reduced to just two round trips
- Starting March 23, weekday service reduced from 4 to 3 round trips
- Saturday service suspended
Caltrain (San Jose to San Francisco)
- Starting March 30, 42 trains per day, rather than the usual 92
- Normal weekend service
Metrolink (Los Angeles Area)
- Scheduled reduced as of March 26
Coaster (San Diego Region)
- As of March 23, weekend service eliminated and weekday service reduced from 11 to 6 round trips daily
As I mentioned last week, Greyhound schedules have never been transparent. Their website pushes you to book a direct trip, and the timetables are hidden and horribly designed. That makes it hard to see what the changes are.
- San Francisco/Oakland to Fresno is down again from 2 to just 1 a day.
- Los Angeles to Fresno remains at 5 a day.
- Fresno-Vegas bus is still gone.
- The direct Fresno-Seattle bus is now gone. Instead of 12 hours, you can now do it in 24 with a transfer in Portland for $123.
Remember how I said last week that the domestic airlines had been dragging their feet on schedule reductions? Well, the reductions are here. Also, prices have risen slightly. Fresno to the east coast is now $103, instead of $90.
- Guadalajara confirmed to go down to 3 weekly. The good news is that Fresno is actually one of the few cities still getting flights from Mexico! Check out their entire international service network as of April 8:
- Guadalajara – Chicago O’Hare 3 weekly
- Guadalajara – Fresno 3 weekly
- Guadalajara – Los Angeles 3 weekly
- Guadalajara – Sacramento 3 weekly
- Guadalajara – Salt Lake City 5 weekly
- Mexico City – Amsterdam 1 weekly
- Mexico City – Chicago O’Hare 3 weekly
- Mexico City – Los Angeles 4 weekly
- Mexico City – New York JFK 2 weekly
- Mexico City – Tokyo Narita 4 weekly
- This week:
- San Diego remains 1 daily
- Seattle, from 2 daily to 1 daily
- Portland eliminated
- Last week:
- San Diego, from 3 daily to 1 daily
- Seattle, from 3 daily to 2 daily
- Portland, from 2 daily to 1 daily
- They eliminated flights for two weeks, but are resuming 6 times weekly as of April 11. Why? The bailout package requires them to maintains service if they want $$$.
- This week:
- Dallas back up to 2 daily on most days…for only $490, what a joke
- Phoenix down to just 6 a week
- Los Angeles service eliminated
- Last week
- Dallas from 2/3 daily to 1 daily
- Los Angeles, from 4 daily to 6 weekly (was 5 daily last year).
- Phoenix, from 4 to 3 daily (was 5 daily last year)
- Salt Lake City holds steady at 2 daily
- Denver went from 4 times a week, to eliminated, to 1 time a week for April between my last post and this one. For May, it is 2 times a week. This also looks like an attempt to access bailout cash by providing minimum service levels.
- This week:
- Denver down to 2 daily
- Los Angeles down to 1 daily
- San Francisco down to 1 daily
- Last week:
- Daily flight to Chicago eliminated
- Denver to 3 daily
- Los Angeles to 2 daily
- San Francisco from 3 daily to 2 daily (was 4 last year)
- Most US flights and all Fresno service cancelled until May (Guadalajara, Morelia, Leon)
- What’s interesting is that for March, they only saw a 10% decrease in demand, which explains why they waited so long to make changes
While all these reductions are steep, they could be worse. For example, United alone has reduced the number of daily flights from the NYC airports from 404, to 157, to just 17. American Airlines has reduced their NYC flights from 270 a day to just 13.