Gold Coast Transit District Announces COVID-19 Recovery Service Changes, Effective July 26, 2020
Beginnining Sunday, July 26th, Gold Coast Transit District will be making several service changes to restore service frequency, add the new Route 23 on Ventura Road, speed up service by consolidating bus stops, and discontinue a limited number of low ridership route segments to strengthen and make the core transit network more efficient.
A key goal of these service changes is to support the community's economic recovery by providing more frequent service to essential commercial corridors. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, GCTD's ridership has decreased by more than 50%. At the same time, we have taken unprecedented measures to protect riders; fare collection has been suspended to allow for rear door boarding, increased strenuous cleaning activities, limited on board passenger capacities, and masks or face coverings while waiting for or riding the bus are required for all. Despite these circumstances, a recent passenger survey revealed a majority of respondents plan to continue to ride the bus to reach essential destinations including grocery trips, medical appointments, and work. Additionally, 42% of respondents indiciated they are essential workers who depend on the bus to get to work in the food service industry, agriculture, and healthcare.
"Restoration of critical transit services is a major step in helping the community recover", said Steven Brown, GCTD General Manager. "The changes will help make transit faster and save time for those who rely on it - seniors, veterans, disabled populations, and essential workers. We are committed to making our core system work better as the community begins to reopen.
While temporarily suspending fare collection has resulted in a signigicant loss of fare revenue, GCTD is able to make these changes due to a one-time allocation of federal CARES ACT funds and other federal grants that are being used to preserve core transit services. While this funding will cover much needed gaps for the next year or two, GCTD must continue to work diligently to evaluate its services and make cost effective changes where needed.
At this time, GCTD is focused on restoring and preserving frequency on its core routes and making changes to routes with historically low ridership. The changes being made are based on a combination of ridership data, community input gathered via previously held outreach meetings, operator input, and recent passenger surveys - and are based on travel pattern changes that have occurred in the community over the last few years.
All of GCTD's service changes are possible because of the dedicated work of our essential bus operators and maintenance staff, the cooperation of our customers, and our member city's staff who have worked hard to make the bus stop changes possible.
Below are a list of the service changes starting Sunday, July 26th:
Routes 1, 6, 17, 21 will have their frequency increased to pre-COVID levels. Fully restoring bus frequency to every 20-30 minutes weekdays on these routes will help alleviate overcrowding and improve on-board physical distancing as businesses reopen.
The NEW Route 23 will provide a new two-way bus route from South Oxnard/Oxnard College to Port Hueneme and the Naval Base, up along Ventura Road to Vineyard Avenue and the Esplanade. Route 23 will connect to Route 17 (which are interlined at the Esplanade Shopping Center) providing a one seat ride to The Collection, El Rio and the Rose Shopping area. Both the new Route 23 and the Route 17 will run every 30 minutes on weekdays and every 45 mins on weekends.
Routes 3/9, 4A/B and 8 will be restructured. These route changes are in response to analysis of ridership, travel patterns and public input received, as well as to eliminate duplicate service in very low ridership areas.
New Route 3 will now serve the Lemonwood neighborhood instead of Route 8/9. The new route design will allow faster more direct access between Oxnard Transit Center, Centerpoint Mall, and the Lemonwood neighnorhood. The new route wil run every 45 minutes. The Teakwood neighborhood will be served by the New Route 23.
New Route 4A/B will no longer service the Lantana Street stops. This area will be served by the New Route 23 on Ventura Road. Using Gonzales Road will shorten the trip between M Street and Rose Avenue by a full 5 minutes. Route 4A will run every 45-50 minutes. Route 4B will run every 25-30 minutes.
Route 1 bus stops will be consolidated for better spacing and faster speeds. Bus stop consolidation makes trips faster for passengers by reducing the amount of stops on a route and balances spacing of bus stops to every 1/4 of a mile. This will allow buses to run more frequently, every 20 minutes, and have more reliable schedules.
GCTD also continues to operate GO ACCESS, an accessible shared ride curb-to-curb transit option for people with disabilities, seniors over the age of 65, or who have a temporary disabiity that prevents them from using the bus. This service is available via reservation and will take eligible passengers to any destination in the community within the district boundaries.