COVID 19 Response

July 2021:
RTA has returned to our standard fare structure. Many riders have been asking if this means we are also going to change our mask requirements, and we are not. Masks continue to be required to ride any RTA or South County Transit vehicle. 

The policies surrounding COVID 19 are an evolving issue and we are committed to keeping our policies current and in compliance with the CDC and with SLO County requirements. If these requirements change, we will let our riders know. In the meantime, thank you for your patience as we work to keep all of our riders and operators safe and healthy.

January 29, 2021: THE CDC issues order to wear face masks while on public transportation and at bus stops. Information about the order can be found here, and a copy of the order is posted here.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 the CDC’s new order makes mask wearing mandatory for all who use public transit. If you cannot or will not wear a mask, you are not able to use RTA services.

  • The order permits face masks only. We can no longer allow bandanas, scarves, face-shields without a mask or a t-shirt pulled over the face.
  • The mask must cover the nose and mouth.
  • Masks with one-way valves do not comply with the order.
  • Gaiters need to be two layers of fabric.

This mandate does not apply to infants or children who are under two years old.


RTA and South County Transit are continuing to stay up-to-date regarding the COVID-19 Virus. As information becomes available, we are prepared to meet the changing recommendations available in our operations and business during this statewide “stay-at-home” order.

The safety, health and well-being of our employees, customers and community is a top priority for us and we are implementing a number of proactive measures in response to COVID-19. RTA is following the recommendations of the SLO County Public Health Agency as our guide for setting policies.

RTA is urging riders to only ride public transit for essential travel and refrain from using public transit if they have symptoms of COVID-19. Notices have been put up on buses reminding riders to practice social distancing, and to protect our drivers please stay home if you show signs of COVID-19 symptoms.

CDC Coronavirus Info   SLO County Public Health Agency


Sunday June 14, 2020: Face Coverings are Required to Ride in Transit Vehicles

To reduce exposure to the COVID-19 virus, face coverings will be required to ride in transit vehicles. Face coverings can be a mask, a bandana, even a t-shirt pulled up over your nose and mouth. Click here to read the face-covering order.

Sunday June 14, 2020: Return to charging fares-50¢ Regular and 25¢ Discounted fare. Runabout $1 per trip.

Starting on Sunday June 14, RTA and South County Transit will return to charging a fare on transit vehicles. For fixed route buses the Regular fare will be 50¢ and the Discount fare is 25¢. Neither the bus driver nor the farebox can give change. Riders can use cash or purchase a bus pass using the Token Transit phone app, or online on the website where a pass will be mailed to you.

This change also means that riders will return to loading at the front door of the bus. We continue to ask that passengers not ride if you are not feeling well. We also recommend riders wear face masks to reduce the spread of the corona virus.

May 7, 2020: Dial a Ride Service Returns to Regular Service levels

Dial a Ride services revert back to previous service levels immediately. At the beginning of the COVID-19 quarantine, the service was reduced to medical appointments only and was not charging fares. The service returns to regular access and also returns to charging fares. We do ask that riders use the service for essential trips and to not ride if you are not feeling well. We also recommend riders wear face masks to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

April 13: Passenger Limits on all Vehicles

To support social distancing goals, RTA/Paso Express and SoCo Transit will begin limiting the number of passengers in all fixed route service. The number of passengers will vary depending on the size of the vehicle. Here are the new passenger limits:

  1. Forty foot Buses (RTA): No more than 10-15 riders can be on a bus at one time — 10 individuals, or up to 15 if customers are riding together (such as couples or parents with children).
  2. Thirty-five foot Buses (SCT & Paso Express): No more than 8-12 riders can be on a bus at one time — 8 individuals, or up to 12 if customers are riding together (such as couples or parents with children).
  3. Route 15 Cutaway Van (RTA): No more than 5-7 riders can be on a bus at one time — 5 individuals, or up to 7 if customers are riding together (such as couples or parents with children).
  4. Demand Response Vehicles: 1 passenger per trip (not counting one Personal Care Attendant and one Companion on Runabout vans). We ask that riders forego non-essential trips.

As of March 20: Fare Free Rides & Rear Door Loading

RTA/Paso Express and SoCo Transit will provide free bus service until further notice. This applies to Runabout paratransit services as well.

Passengers without mobility disabilities will be boarding and alighting from the vehicle from the “rear door” which is in the middle of most buses to minimize contact with bus operators at the front door and farebox area. Passengers using mobility devices or with accessibility needs who need the ramp will be allowed to board and alight from the front door of the vehicle.

Refunds will not be issued to riders who have previously purchased bus passes.

March 16: Saturday Service with Express Trips

Starting Monday March 16, In compliance with California State Governor Newsom’s restrictions to reduce exposure to the coronavirus, we will be reducing bus service to run on a Saturday schedule, but will continue to run weekday express bus trips Monday through Friday. Please look at the schedules for each route on our website. This will affect the hours for Runabout service to Saturday hours and Dial a Ride will operate for medical trips only.

We have increased the frequency of cleaning the interior of our vehicles and riders are advised to take personal responsibility and not use public transit if they are feeling ill and to wash hands frequently. We will be monitoring the situation closely through the SLO County Public Health agency and will inform riders if we decide to make any changes to the bus schedules. If you have questions please direct them to our email at

RTA Administration Office

RTA’s administrative office are operating on normal business hours (Monday – Friday, 
8am to 4pm) but no walk-up sales or person-to-person transactions of any kind are available. RTA Customer Service can be reached at (805) 541-2228 or email

Bus Behavior
Bus Behavior

How RTA is Keeping You Safe

  • Wiping all frequently touched surfaces on our buses with disinfectant each night
  • Providing employees with hand sanitizer, wipes and gloves
  • Asking customers to follow social distancing of six feet when possible
  • Asking customers to not ride transit if they are sick
  • Recommending customers to wear face masks

Bus Cleaning

How You Can Help

We urge customers to follow The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s (CDC) recommendations:

  • Social distancing: Practice social distancing by keeping at least six feet between you and other people, including our operators and employees.
  • Wash your hands: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face: Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze: Cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw that tissue in the trash.  If you don’t have a tissue, use your elbow.
  • Using a face mask is recommended
  • Stay home if you’re not feeling well