The Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District announced that it will be reducing services on several bus lines beginning April 25. These changes include a reduced frequency of lines to and from UC Santa Barbara.
According to the April 8 press release from the Metropolitan Transit District (MTD), the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the transit district included a workforce shortage which was exacerbated by the surge of the omicron variant that put a strain on normal operations, pushing the district to modify its services.
“While MTD continues to recruit aggressively for bus operators, the agency has experienced a confluence of retirements and normal attrition causing a drop in the number of available bus operators. This drop coupled with the Omicron surge has meant that various bus trips are occasionally cancelled, causing uncertainty for passengers,” the press release stated.
Beginning April 25, service is temporarily changed or suspended on the following lines: 1, 2, 5, 6, 11, 12x, 14, 15x, 16, 20, 23, 24x, 25, 27 and 28. The weekend schedule for all lines remains unchanged.
Some of the specific changes in schedule include reduced frequency on the UCSB Express Line 24x during weekdays, temporary suspension of the City College Shuttle Line 16 and reduced frequency to every 36 minutes on weekdays for UCSB Shuttle Line 28.
These changes are planned to last through spring and summer, according to the press release, and any further adjustments will be communicated by MTD.
“The reliability of our schedules is crucial and due to the current labor shortage the temporary reduction of service is a necessary step,” MTD General Manager Jerry Estrada said in the press release. “We hope that these temporary reductions will allow us the time to staff up appropriately and return to higher levels of service later this year.”
A version of this article appeared on p. 5 of the April 14 edition of the Nexus.