The fare was brought back after LBT installed clear acrylic barriers between bus operators and passengers throughout 250 buses last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mike Gold, executive director of customer relations and communications at LBT said.
LBT also enforced other health and safety precautions during the pandemic such as requiring riders to wear masks at all times and to skip a seat or row when sitting down.
Gold said they initially suspended the fare because they made passengers enter from the rear door of a bus instead of the main one to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Purva Rao, a second-year information systems major, felt safe with the health and safety measures implemented by the LBT.
“You have to wear a mask on the bus,” she said. “A passenger was asked to leave the bus for not [wearing] one, so I think they’re doing a pretty good job.”
LBT’s yearly budget is approximately $100 million, and they received $25 million from the emergency COVID-19 relief funding, Gold said. Fares account for 15 to 20% of LBT’s revenue and government funding was used to replace financial loss due to passengers riding on the bus for free.
Many CSULB students utilize LBT frequently to commute to and from campus, while others also use other transits such as the Los Angeles Metro.
Gerardo Gutierrez, a third-year history major, has been utilizing LBT and LA Metro since his earlier days at Long Beach City College. He commuted an hour and a half from South Gate once a week.
“It kind of sucks because I just started riding the bus and they started charging again,” Gutierrez said.”I don’t like to spend money on the bus.”
Chelsea Fernandez, a first-year computer science major, purchased the 150-day bus pass because she works at the Academic Technology Services department on campus although her classes are online.
“It’s convenient and pretty frequent,” Fernandez said. “I bought the 150-day bus pass and it’s pretty good because I have to come to campus daily for my job.”
However, other students said it would be more convenient to ride the bus without the fare.
Alfredo Lopez, a third-year international studies major, purchased the 150-day pass and agreed free rides were convenient and added that they are a big help for students who may not have a lot of money.
“I have enough money but others may not,” Lopez said. “If possible, it would be really efficient to not have to worry about [the] fare.”
To learn more about the bus passes, visit LBT’s students page.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on Nov.1 at 2:54 pm to correct the amount of the LBT’s budget.