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LAVTA service levels to be reduced

Bus agency attributes declining ridership to COVID-19 pandemic

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With declining ridership attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA) announced that its bus services will be reduced starting Thursday (March 26).

In a statement, officials said they will "utilize a five-level service reduction process to provide our passengers with an easy way to find out what services remain available."

On Thursday, LAVTA will switch from Service Level 1 -- in which all services are operational as usual -- to Service Level 2.

Service hours during weekdays will decrease by about 25% under Service Level 2, according to the agency. Dial-a-Ride paratransit services will continue operating under each service level but may be limited based on resource availability. As with the Dial-a-Ride program, Para-taxi and GoDublin are still available.

Other changes include Rapid Routes 10R and 30R running every 30 minutes during hours when 15-minute frequency is normally available. Routes 20X and 580X will cease operations entirely "due to extremely low ridership"; riders may use Route 30R as an alternate option for those routes.

Route 2 will also discontinue but alternate service is available through LAVTA's GoDublin program. Routes 53 and 54 will run "subject to continuation of (Altamont Corridor Express) service."

"We will continue to monitor this situation on a daily basis and will take additional actions if warranted or recommended by local or national health organizations," LAVTA said.

LAVTA also suspended fare payment last week because the fare collection equipment at the front of buses "results in our operators being in very close proximity to passengers boarding the bus." For that reason, able-bodied passengers are now asked to board the bus by the rear door. Riders using mobility devices are still allowed to board from the front door.

LAVTA officials also remind the public that the Alameda County health officer's shelter-in-place order limits the use of public transit to essential travel, including "performing tasks or activities essential to personal or family health and safety" and "obtaining necessary services and supplies, including perishable goods food and medical supplies."

The list of permissible “Essential Travel” categories is available on the Alameda County Public Health Department. Details about each of the five Service Levels are available at wheelsbus.com.

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