NewsCovering Kern County


Public transportation takes major hit amid pandemic

Manager of Kern Transit says ridership is down 75% compared to this time last year
Public transportation takes major hit amid pandemic
Posted at 8:49 AM, Sep 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 11:49:29-04

“Our ridership is really really down, but I mean that’s consistent with the rest of what the nation is seeing. Most places are in that 75% range, however in the Bay area they’re actually down about 90% in their ridership,” says Bob Neath of Kern Transit.

23ABC's Kylie Walker spoke with Neath, who says a large percent of the ridership this time of year comes from students. “Normally we’d see a huge increase for people going to Bakersfield College, CSUB, Taft college, and in some areas we take grade school and high school students. Especially in the Tehachapi area, but with all the remote learning going on right now, everyone is staying home.”

And he adds that about a year ago they started planning a commute where they would take the public from Bakersfield to Los Angeles, where many were commuting to work. However, Neath says even after the pandemic is over, he thinks there will be some long-term changes where more people will start to work from home and needing transportation less. “Companies are seeing they’re still productive that way. Plus it’s cheaper than buying office space in downtown San Francisco or Downtown La.” Neath adds, “So you are starting to see the creation of what they call zoom towns. Where people will buy a house in an affordable community and still be able to work in a large city.”

As for the buses available now, Neath says they are still operating. However masks are required and provided if needed. Neath also adds that they’ve been able to stay afloat financially due to the cares act funding from the state. And all employees have been able to keep their job.

Here is their schedule: