Coronavirus impact: Changes, reductions coming to Bay Area transit agencies

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing Bay Area transit agencies to change course and eliminate service routes. Starting Monday, Muni's light rail and subway service will shut down in San Francisco.

A Balboa Park Muni train pulled into the Powell Street station with no passengers on board and barely a soul in the station.

"It's like a ghost town, everything seems strange," said Muni rider Paul Bagnaol.

RELATED: Muni suspending some service due to COVID-19 crisis

Ridership has plunged during the stay at home order, so starting Monday, Muni will stop subway and light rail service. Many stations will be closed and bus shuttles will act as a replacement, providing service on all Muni metro lines.

"The routes won't change, you'll still be able to get where you're going," said Muni spokesperson Erica Kato.

The San Francisco Transit Riders group tweeted, calling for Muni to halt fare collection, encourage rear-door boarding and provide sufficient service for social distancing on all buses during Coronavirus outbreak.

RELATED: Everything to know about San Francisco Bay Area's shelter-in-place order

Paul Bagnaol is still going to work, as a house cleaner.

"I hope they have more buses on Market Street, to get people around better," said Bagnaol.

BART Ridership is also way down by 92%. On Saturday 12,000 people rode on BART. On a typical Saturday, there would be 149,000 riders.

Golden Gate Transit will suspend 12 more bus routes starting Monday for a total of 60. Bus ridership is down 90%, ferry ridership is down 95%.

RELATED: VTA suspends light rail service indefinitely after employee tests positive for COVID-19

In the South Bay, VTA is suspending light rail service, replaced by a reduced bus schedule with no fare collection.

"I think it needs to be done if they're hemorrhaging cash because there's not enough riders, something's got to give," said Muni ride Steve Heide.

Many riders, have essential jobs and still need a way to get to work.

Many hope for the best.

"Hopefully this virus will pass in the next few weeks, so we can get back to normal, I hate to see things close," Bagnaol added.

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