SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Metropolitan Transit District in Santa Barbara is opening its new transit center downtown Monday after a remodeling project and a COVID-19 shut down.
The center is on Chapala Street between Carrillo and Figueroa Street.
The public will only be allowed in, for now, to buy bus passes and get information from the staff. It will not be open as a waiting area. There are also special machines to dispense bus passes. Riders can pay with a credit card or cash.
Special screens are up inside and facing out as well to show the flow pattern and timeline for the bus service in motion at the time. Riders will be able to determine when their bus is coming in or leaving.
The passenger count went up this week as the COVID rules began easing back.
The 30-foot bus load is at 15 passengers. The 40-foot bus capacity is now at 20 passengers.
The bus rides for the last year have been free due to the pandemic.
Many routes, normally used for students, saw ridership fall off dramatically. Some of it has returned with the reopening of in person instruction at the elementary and high school level.
In the fall local colleges are also expected to have in person classes and that ridership will increase substantially for the students who are coming to the campuses instead of learning remotely.
Fee collection will resume May 10.
For now the electric shuttles that serve the waterfront, downtown and Carpinteria, Seaside shuttle, are still sidelined. There are no plans to fund their return, but discussions about options continue.
The MTD is opening up a public comment period on its services.
Links will be on the MTD site for riders and the general public to provide input before final decisions are made by the MTD Board of Directors or elected officials in our area.