The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) released a new report that shows there is no direct correlation between using public transportation and the transmission of COVID-19. The study, which analyzed public transit use in multiple U.S. and international cities this summer, also found that there will be long-term negative health consequences if large numbers of people switch from public transit to private cars.

This report is based on a comprehensive review of United States and global research regarding COVID-19 transmission and public transit, interviews with public health experts, and new analysis of various data sources. This report details the following findings:

  1. No direct correlation has been found between use of urban public transit and transmission of COVID-19.
  2. There will be long-term health consequences if people in large numbers switch from public transit to private cars.
  3. An analysis of public transit ridership in multiple cities over the past three months shows no correlation with the rise or fall of local COVID-19 cases.
  4. Mask wearing has been shown to be effective at reducing person-to-person transmission.
  5. There are several possible explanations for the lack of correlation between the increase in public transit ridership and increasing COVID-19 cases.
  6. It appears that what you do at the end of a trip affects the probability of contracting the virus far more than the mode of travel.

Download the full report, “Public Transit and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Global Research and Best Practices”

Cleanliness and Sanitization Practices

As a proactive response to the spread of COVID-19, RTD added to its already robust cleanliness and sanitization practices. RTD’s current vehicle and facility cleanliness and sanitization practices are above general industry standards as follows:

  • Nightly cleaning of every bus with an antibacterial and antimicrobial disinfectant solution.
  • Use of maximum strength antibacterial and antimicrobial disinfectant cleaning solutions at all RTD transit hubs.

As additional precautions, RTD now uses a sanitizing fog solution on vehicles as a part of its scheduled preventative maintenance program and increase its disinfecting practices to include all fare vending machines.

Customer Service

The Downtown Transit Center’s customer service window is open:

Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

For assistance, please call (209) 943-1111, option 1.

Essential Travel

Due to the order issued by the San Joaquin County Public Health Officer and Director of Emergency Services, dated April 14, 2020:

People must use public transit only to perform essential activities.

What Are Essential Travel Activities?

  • Any travel related to the provision of or access to Essential Activities or Essential Government Functions
  • Travel to care for the elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons
  • Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving material for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services
  • Travel to return to a place of residence from outside the jurisdiction
  • Travel required by law enforcement or court order
  • Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the County. Individuals are strongly encouraged to verify that their transportation out of the County remains available and functional prior to commencing such travel.

Face Covering Requirement

For the safety and health of RTD staff and the general public, the use of face coverings on all RTD vehicles and at all RTD facilities is required.

Click here to learn more about how to securely wear cloth face coverings.

Graphic: Face coverings are required while on RTD property and on-board RTD buses
Free Rides to Vaccine Sites Flyer Image. Downloaded PDF with editable text is available.

Free Rides to Vaccine Sites

In partnership with SJReady, San Joaquin County’s Office of Emergency Services, RTD is providing free rides to passengers on all fixed-route buses traveling to SJReady COVID-19 vaccine sites.

To ride free, check your eligibility and book your COVID-19 vaccine appointment on the California Department of Public’s My Turn website or on SJReady, then show your appointment confirmation via a print-out or on your phone to the operator when boarding.

Download and print the Free Rides to Vaccines Sites flyer here.

In partnership with Kaiser Permanente, RTD is providing free rides to the Stockton Arena mass vaccination site. The Stockton Arena is easily accessible by RTD Express Route 40. Book your vaccine appointment on the California Department of Public’s My Turn website, then show your appointment confirmation via a print-out or on your phone to the operator when boarding.

Fare Collection

As of Sunday, August 30, 2020, fare collection is now in effect for all passengers.

Modified Services

⚠ Effective Sunday, August 16, 2020, RTD will implement new modified service changes.  Click here to see the service matrix

RTD Van Go!

Effective Sunday, August 16, 2020, RTD Van Go! serviceredesign will operate between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., 7 days a week.  To learn more on what is new, please visit

Route 163

Commuter Route 163 will operate two morning and two afternoon trips, Monday – Friday until further notice. Click here to view Commuter Route 163 current schedule.

Direct Connection

Direct Connection Service is suspended until further notice, effective Monday, March 23, 2020. Click here to see all available routes.

On-Site Temperature Screening

RTD has implemented on-site temperature screenings for its employees using non-contact infrared thermometers.

Social Distancing Requirements

RTD is implementing mandatory social distancing required in response to Local, State, and/or Federal Public Health Orders

  • Avoid entering the facility if you have a cough or fever
  • Maintain a distance of 6 feet from others
  • Sneeze or cough into a cloth or tissue, if not available, use your elbow
  • Do not shake hands or engage in any unnecessary physical contact

Click here to view the social distancing requirement guidance posted at all entrances at DTC, HTS, UTS, and RTC.


There is open seating onboard and social distancing is strongly encouraged. Customers are required to remain a minimum of 6 feet distance from the operator.