Coronavirus: Your guide to Bay Area parking, bridges, buses and trains – The Mercury News

The Bay Area’s roads, bridges and public transportation systems are all open during the shelter in place orders that have millions of us working and studying from home.

Under the order, though, you’re only allowed to travel for “essential” reasons — so you can still take BART to your essential job, but no recreational ferry rides to take in the fresh air and view.

If you are still getting around the Bay Area, you’ve probably noticed a number of changes to roads, trains, buses and ferries as officials try to limit the spread of coronavirus and adjust to massive drops in ridership.

Below you’ll find a round-up of changes affecting drivers and riders on some of the region’s most popular public transportation systems. If you don’t see your local transit agency, check out this list of service updates from

Officials are encouraging riders to use the Transit app for up-to-date schedules and trip planning.

This page will be updated as service changes.


The Bay Area’s fearsome traffic jams have practically disappeared since the shelter in place order went into effect. The region has seen the largest drop in car traffic of any major urban area in the country.

Express lanes on sections of Interstates 580 and 680, as well as Highway 237, are open to all drivers and will not be charging tolls.


All of the Bay Area’s bridges are going cash-free — but not toll-free — during the public health crisis in a bid to limit the potential spread of coronavirus between drivers and toll takers.

If you have FasTrak nothing will change, you’ll just go through the toll plaza like normal and be charged the regular amount.

If you normally pay with cash, you should instead drive through the toll without stopping — the Bay Area Toll Authority will mail you a bill for each crossing. That bill might come in a scary-looking “Toll Violation Notice” envelope, but you’ll only be charged for the toll, with no added penalty.


Many Bay Area cities are easing up on parking enforcement — though the rules tend to vary from place to place, so you’ll want to look up any changes that are specific to where you live.

San Jose has said it will not write parking tickets during the shelter in place order, nor will the city tow abandoned or illegally parked vehicles. The Bay Area’s largest city has also suspended deadlines for contesting parking tickets.

Oakland has similarly stopped enforcing parking meters, time-limited spots and street sweeping rules.

San Francisco is no longer ticketing people for parking offenses related to street sweeping, peak-hour zones, residential parking permits or leaving vehicles parked for more than 72 hours.


Click here for BART’s coronavirus information page

BART has shortened its service hours and reduced frequency on one line.

On weekdays, the last BART trains are now stopping at 9 p.m., rather than midnight. You’ll need to be on your train or platform by 8:45 p.m. to guarantee a ride to your destination, BART officials say.

Trains are running from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends.

San Francisco International Airport has started running a late-night bus service for employees and travelers affected by the shorter BART hours.

BART has also suspended the extra rush-hour trains it normally runs on the Antioch-to-SFO “yellow line,” since the crush of commuters during peak hours has disappeared.


Click here for VTA’s coronavirus information page

VTA’s light rail service was suspended after an operator trainee tested positive for coronavirus.

As for the system’s bus lines, passengers are getting free rides but reduced hours.

Starting March 30, almost every bus route will stop running at 9 p.m., instead of ending service at midnight. The exceptions are the 24-hour route 22 and the express route 181, which will be timed to leave after the last BART train arrives at the Warm Springs station in Fremont.

VTA has stopped collecting fares from riders, and is asking them to board buses from the rear doors in an effort to keep drivers and passengers separated. Passengers with mobility issues can still use the front door.

The system has also suspended its “school tripper” bus routes, which are based around local bell schedules, since schools are not in session.


Click here for Caltrain’s coronavirus information page

Caltrain’s Baby Bullet and limited trains have been suspended indefinitely.

The rail line is running a reduced schedule of 42 trains per weekday, down from its usual 92 trains per weekday.

Trains will run every 30 to 60 minutes on weekdays between San Francisco and San Jose, depending on the time of day, and will make all local stops. Two trains will continue south to Gilroy during the morning and evening commute hours.

Weekend service has not changed.


Click here for Muni’s coronavirus information page

Muni is shutting down its light rail trains and subway stations, and dropping all but one of its rapid bus lines starting March 30.

The five light rail lines will be served by buses instead of trains, and the system’s underground stations will be closed.

The 5R, 9R, 28R and 38R Rapid routes are being shut down — the 14R will be the only rapid route that keeps operating. Riders will have to use local lines instead, which will still be in service.

AC Transit

Click here for AC Transit’s coronavirus information page

AC Transit is still operating its usual service, with the exception of certain school routes that have been suspended.

The bus system has also stopped collecting fares from riders, and is asking those who can to board through rear doors.


Click here for SamTrans’ coronavirus information page

Like AC Transit, SamTrans has suspended its school routes but is otherwise running normal service.

Passengers don’t have to pay for their ride, and are asked to board through rear doors if they are able.

San Francisco Bay Ferry

Click here for San Francisco Bay Ferry’s coronavirus information page

Bay Area ferry service has been dramatically pared back.

Ferries will no longer run on weekends, and weekday service has been suspended for Richmond, Harbor Bay, South San Francisco and San Francisco’s Pier 41.

Service continues from Alameda, Oakland and Vallejo — but each of those routes has reduced schedules.

County Connection

Click here for County Connection’s coronavirus information page

County Connection officials have said they will try to maintain normal service, with the exception of routes serving local schools, during the crisis. However the bus system has also canceled several trips because it hasn’t had enough operators available; service advisories are posted to its Twitter account.

The agency has suspended fare collection.


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