More and more Pasadena residents have been using Pasadena Transit Services as the economy and other activities have been reopening, even as the system continues to discourage non-essential trips and limit boardings.
The city’s Department of Transportation said Pasadena Transit’s weekday ridership increased to as high as 3,500 passenger boarding daily since early April. When middle and high schools reopened last week, demand increased further, and the system had to implement service modifications to accommodate more passengers.
Pasadena transportation officials said they plan to implement a summer and fall schedule change as a means of transitioning the system to largely resemble its pre-COVID service structure.
Transportation Director Laura Rubio-Cornejo will report on these changes and other developments in public transit services during a meeting of the City Council’s Municipal Services Committee at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Before the pandemic, Pasadena Transit was experiencing a significant increase in ridership, which increased about eight percent overall from July 2019 through February 2020. In January 2020, ridership increased 14 percent for the full month, and 19 percent in February before COVID-19 was officially declared as a pandemic.
After “Safer at Home” orders were issued, Pasadena Transit ridership fell to about a quarter of its typical boardings, from an average of 5,800 to 1,400 daily rides. This decrease can be attributed to primary school closures, as well as the closures of businesses and colleges and the public’s compliance with the Safer at Home order.
Pasadena Transit will continue to limit passenger capacity to only 50% of full vehicle capacities for the time being.
According to a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation, staff will “monitor ridership levels and will make adjustments as dynamically as feasible in response to the growing demand, with the goal of continuing to optimize space for social distancing and ensuring continued transit services for essential trips.”
By implementing various service changes, Pasadena Transit intends to deploy as many buses as possible on the most heavily used routes to optimize space for social distancing and ensure continued transit services for essential trips, Rubio-Cornejo said.
The Transportation Department’s Transit Division continues to work with the city’s contracted transit operator, First Transit, to monitor ridership levels on a daily basis.
During the meeting on Tuesday, the Transportation Department will also report on the financial impact that Pasadena Transit has been experiencing since last year, and make recommendations on how the city could avail of supplemental funding support for public transportation.
Members of the community can access the online meeting through http://pasadena.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=9 as well as through www.pasadenamedia.org.
During the meeting, members of the public may provide live public comment by submitting a speaker card before the public comment portion begins through www.cityofpasadena.net/commissions/public-comment.