College students and area youth will soon be able to ride the bus for free.

The Riverside Transit Agency’s (RTA) Board of Directors has approved a plan that grants free rides to any youth 18 and under as well as students at Cal Baptist University, La Sierra University, Moreno Valley College, Mt. San Jacinto College, Norco College, Riverside City College and UC Riverside. The program, which is funded by a state grant, begins August 1 and is expected to last until next July.
RTA officials are hopeful the free rides will propel declining ridership that has been caused by the coronavirus pandemic. May ridership was down 67 percent compared to the same month a year ago. 
A free-ride program that includes both college students and area youth has been a longtime goal for RTA Chair Bridgette Moore. “As the state moves toward a new normalcy and more people begin riding public transportation, we are optimistic that these free rides will go a long way in generating interest among our youngest customers,” Moore said. “RTA has a proud history of serving students and young riders and this is an exciting move in a new direction.” 

Declining ridership prompts service decrease to nearly all routes

Due to declining ridership triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, the Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) will, with few exceptions, begin running a slimmed-down version of service on par with its reduced Sunday schedule. The new schedule is expected to begin Sunday, April 5 or as soon as feasible and last an indefinite amount of time.

The move to seven-day-a-week Sunday service will affect most of RTA’s 47 routes, cutting service to roughly half of normalweekday service. RapidLink Gold Line, Route 19A, Route 26, Route 51 Crest Cruiser, Route 50 Jury Trolley, Route 55 Temecula Trolley, andCommuterLink Express routes 202, 210 and 217 will cease operations until further notice. The exceptions are CommuterLink Express routes 204, 205, 206 and 208, which will operate on reduced schedules.

The remaining routes will operate on a Sunday schedule, which essentially provides fewer trips and less frequency than regular weekday service. Dial-A-Ride, which is a reservation-only service for eligible seniors and disabled customers, will continue to operate at normal service levels.

Service change would affect 40 routes, beginning September 

Get ready for a new bus route, better service frequency and improved connections for bus service in Riverside County and beyond. That’s the message Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) is telling its customers as it prepares kick off a wave of improvements in September. Another round of changes would come in January 2020.

In all, the proposed changes will target 40 bus routes, enhancing service by removing unproductive trips, improving connections, reliability and on-time performance. RTA will hold a series of public meetings April 23 and 24 to solicit community feedback on the changes before they are presented ― as part of the proposed Short Range Transit Plan and FY20 budget ― to the RTA Governing Board for consideration on May 23. Details of those meetings can be found online.