Chief Executive Officer Larry Rubio has announced his retirement from the Riverside Transit Agency (RTA), ending a 33-year career of distinction, leadership and passion for fostering a world-class workplace and providing unsurpassed public transportation to the residents of Riverside County.

Since he arrived at RTA back in 1988, he held a range of different positions before becoming the chief executive officer in 2001. Rubio was no ordinary leader. While he was at the helm, the Agency led the charge in clean-burning fuel; established a legacy of superior financial health and years of clean audits for operating and capital budgets that soared above $130 million; emphasized a commitment to innovative new services such as mobile ticketing and free WiFi on buses; and created thriving partnerships with area colleges and universities to provide free rides to thousands of students every year.

“I’m thankful to the many great people in my life who mentored and guided me along this journey,” Rubio said. “I am appreciative of all the employees who make this Agency the best in the nation, and I’m grateful to my supportive wife and family who were always by my side. I know our extraordinary employees and members of the Board of Directors will continue to move RTA forward with their innovative and dedicated service to the Agency and our community.”

During Rubio’s tenure, RTA gave customers more reasons to ride the bus and more places to get on board thanks to the creation of major transit hubs in Corona, Perris, Riverside, Moreno Valley and Temecula. The Agency also established itself as a model workforce that, at one point, climbed to nearly 900 talented drivers, skillful mechanics and people working behind the scenes who all worked tirelessly to keep buses rolling every day, carrying nearly 10 million boardings a year.

All this hard work didn’t go unnoticed. Among his accolades and awards, Rubio in 2004 was named Hispanic Magazine’s Most Influential Latino in the Inland Empire. In 2008, RTA was named one of the 10 Great Transit Systems to Work For, and in 2011, Larry earned California Transportation Foundation’s Manager of the Year.

Perhaps Rubio’s leadership was put most to the test during the coronavirus pandemic, which sidelined bus routes, crippled the economy, and shuttered businesses and schools. During that time, Rubio remained a steady leader, even postponing his retirement as RTA fought hard to keep buses rolling and staff employed.

RTA’s Chair of the Board Linda Krupa credits Rubio with creating a culture of innovation, efficiency and customer service. “Larry Rubio has been an excellent leader, dedicated public servant and a steady guide for progress,” Krupa said. “His deep knowledge of the transit industry, uncommon humility, ability to form lasting partnerships, innovative thinking and success in making RTA a thriving, community-focused agency has put RTA in a class of its own.”

The RTA Board of Directors is expected to name a successor later this month.

Youth and College Students to Ride Free

If you ride the bus, your service could be getting a whole lot better this weekend. That’s because the Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) is about to adjust nearly 40 routes to boost performance, enhance connections and expand service into new areas.

Plus, youth and college students will continue to get free rides through next summer.

On Sunday, August 15, RTA will make schedule and route changes to 36 bus routes, virtually affecting in some way nearly every RTA route that serves western Riverside County. The majority of the routes will get minor tweaks while a few will get more substantial upgrades. Perhaps the most significant improvements include the addition of more morning and evening trips, better service to area schools and the return of the Route 55 Temecula Trolley (which serves the community of Harveston, Promenade Mall and Chaparral High School) and Route 51 Crest Cruiser trolley (which serves the area surrounding UC Riverside), which were sidelined due to the pandemic. RTA will also resume separate weekday and weekend schedules for most routes.

By the numbers, look for 149 additional bus trips systemwide, expanded service on 10 routes, improved frequency on nine routes and improved hours of operation on 10 routes.

For customers who ride RTA’s busiest route, the Route 1, look for service to operate as early as 3:22 a.m. and as late as 10:25 p.m. Route 3 customers will spend less time waiting for their bus because service frequency will go from the current 120 minutes to 75 minutes, with service resuming to Norco College. Other major enhancements include the expansion of routes 19 and 24 to serve Moreno Valley College and Mt. San Jacinto College in Temecula, respectively. Plus, Route 79 will be expanded to serve Old Town Temecula and the Route 8 will begin service to the new Walmart in Lake Elsinore.

RTA Chair Linda Krupa said there are so many reasons to ride the bus. With friendly drivers and a safe environment, RTA is a great option for travelling to destinations near and far. Plus, there’s comfortable seating, free Wi-Fi service and USB charging ports to make the ride even better.

“With buses back at full capacity, it’s our pleasure to welcome everyone back on board,” Krupa said. “We’ve made a spectrum of improvements that reflect our commitment to meet the changing needs of our valued customers and get our region moving again.”

That’s not all. RTA provides free rides to anyone 18 or younger and students attending Cal Baptist University, La Sierra University, Moreno Valley College, Mt. San Jacinto College, Norco College, Riverside City College and UC Riverside.

RTA routes undergoing schedule and/or routing changes include the 1, 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19/19A, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 41, 42, 49, 51, 55, 61, 74, 79, 200, 204 and 206. RTA typically makes service adjustments every four months.

More information on the changes can be found in the new Ride Guide and Service Change Guide available now at RiversideTransit.com.

Get ready for more seats, fuller buses and more options for bus travel in Riverside County.

That’s the message Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) is putting out this week as it makes plans to open all buses to full capacity beginning next Tuesday. The move coincides with California’s plan to fully reopen its economy on June 15 with no physical distancing restrictions for most businesses and activities in California.

That should be good news for bus riders who have grown accustomed to fewer seats and the possibility of needing to wait for the next bus to get a ride.

For more than a year, RTA has limited seating on its buses to follow federal and state guidelines regarding social distancing on public transit. Large buses, which can carry up to 60 customers, have been limited to just 10 open seats, and smaller buses, which can carry up to 28 customers, have been limited to just seven open seats.

No more.

“It’s been a long time since we have had full buses so this news is encouraging,” said RTA Chair Linda Krupa. “This is a huge step forward in our ongoing efforts to get back to normal. We especially thank our customers for their support and sacrifices they’ve made during these challenging times.”

While social distancing may be going away, masks are another story.

Last month, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) extended the federal mandate requiring passengers to wear face coverings through September 13, regardless of their vaccination status. That means RTA customers will still be required to wear masks at transit hubs and onboard the bus.

Other safety measures will remain in place, including hand sanitizers on the bus, driver barriers, and the option for customers to pay their fares contact-free with mobile ticketing.

During the pandemic, RTA ridership dropped by roughly 70 percent. Although RTA has no immediate plans to bring service back to pre-pandemic levels, the Agency will consider boosting service levels as customers return and demand increases. Also on June 15, RTA expects to fully open its reception area for customers.

RIVERSIDE, CA — June 11, 2021