Riverside Transit Agency

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Riverside Transit Agency
Riverside Transit Agency (logo).png
Gillig BRTPlus
Founded 1975[1]
Headquarters 1825 Third Street
Riverside, CA 92517-1968[2]
Service area Western Riverside County, California, United States[1]
Service type Bus service, paratransit
Routes 44[3]
Fleet 276 [4]
Fuel type Compressed natural gas[5]
Website http://www.riversidetransit.com

The Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) is the main transit authority for western Riverside County, California, United States. RTA provides both local and regional services throughout the region with 36 fixed-routes, eight CommuterLink routes, and Dial-A-Ride services using 276 vehicles. In the cities of Corona, Beaumont and Banning, RTA coordinates regional services with municipal transit systems. In Riverside, RTA coordinates with the city's Riverside Special Services, which provides ADA complementary service to RTA's fixed-route services. [6]

RTA was established as a joint powers agency on August 15, 1975 and began operating bus service on March 16, 1977.

RTA experienced record ridership in Fiscal Year 2014 with over 9.5 million boardings. [7]


RTA is governed by a board of directors composed of 22 elected officials from 18 cities in western Riverside County and four members of the County Board of Supervisors.

The member jurisdictions include the cities of Beaumont, Corona, Hemet, Lake Elsinore, Moreno Valley, Menifee, Murrieta, Norco, Perris, Riverside, San Jacinto, Temecula, Wildomar and the unincorporated areas of Riverside County Supervisorial Districts I, II, III and V. [8]

Fixed routes[edit]

RTA’s service consists of 36 local fixed routes and 8 commuter express routes. The fixed-route service also includes tourist trolleys (stylized rubber-tired buses, not to be confused with actual trolleys).

In 2003, RTA launched CommuterLink, its first bus service designed to serve Riverside County’s growing number of commuters. The specially designed express buses have limited stop service to major transit centers and Metrolink stations in Riverside county. In 2005, RTA debuted free Wi-Fi Internet service aboard its Temecula-Riverside CommuterLink Route 202, making the agency among the first in Southern California to offer such amenities aboard public buses. Wi-fi is now commonly offered on all of the agency's CommuterLink routes.[9]

RTA plans on implementing a limited-stop system called RapidLink along Magnolia Avenue, from Riverside to Corona, largely paralleling the existing Route 1 with limited stops and traffic-signal priority. The project as proposed would closely resemble LACMTA's Metro Rapid lines, with buses traveling in mixed traffic rather than a dedicated lane.


In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, RTA provides priority service to persons who, due to a disability, are unable to use the public fixed-route bus system. Dial-A-Ride is an origin-to-destination advanced reservation transportation service whose vehicles travel to areas within three-quarters of a mile of an RTA local fixed route. Dial-A-Ride service is provided at times equivalent to local fixed-route bus service in that area. There is no service on New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

The base fare for Dial-A-Ride service is $3.00 per passenger, per boarding. The maximum fare is $9.00 per one-way trip and will be based on the number of city zones you travel. Depending on where your trip begins and ends, you may be required to transfer. [10]

Travel training[edit]

In 2011, RTA began an innovative program for people with disabilities and older adults who wanted to learn to travel safely and independently using public transportation rather than relying on Dial-a-Ride. The RTA ravel training is a free self-paced process where an individual, regardless of ability or age, can learn to ride RTA's fixed-route system.

Since its inception, the program has had close to 800 people participate in travel training and participants have taken over 115,000 trips! The RTA Travel Training Program has been awarded the 2013 SCAG Compass Blueprint Award, the 2013 Transportation Marketing Association Compass Award, and most recently, the 2013 California Transportation Foundation Transportation Award for Public Outreach Program of the Year. [11]


Fare Categories Base Fares Day Pass 7-Day Pass 30-Day Pass
General $1.50 $4 $16 $50
Youth (grades 1-12) $1.50 $4 $16 $35
Senior/Disabled/Veteran 70¢ $2 $16 $23
Child (46" tall or under) 25¢ N/A N/A N/A
CommuterLink General/Youth $3 $7 N/A $75
CommuterLink Senior/Disabled/Veteran $2 $5 N/A $50
CommuterLink Child $2 N/A N/A N/A

College passes[edit]

In September 2006, RTA partnered with the University of California, Riverside (UCR) to provide their students with an all-access bus pass. UC Riverside students get free rides on all fixed-route and CommuterLink buses by swiping their valid university identification cards through any RTA bus farebox when they board. The program, called U-Pass, is designed to help ease traffic congestion around campus, reduce parking problems and encourage ride-sharing. Additionally, RTA operates a trolley service called the Crest Cruiser that is free to UCR students and travels around the university to off-campus housing and retail outlets. Students of La Sierra University have also benefited from U-Pass since January 2009, and California Baptist University joined the program in August 2009.

As of August 21, 2008, RTA has also partnered with Riverside Community College District (RCCD) to provide the same free transit services to students at the Riverside City and Moreno Valley college campuses. (The Norco campus failed to pass an initiative to fund the program, and currently only students at Riverside and Moreno Valley are eligible.) [12] The program, called Go Pass, requires that students swipe their valid RCCD ID cards through the bus farebox when boarding. As of August 2014, the Go-Pass has logged more than 4.5 million RCCD student rides.

In August 2010, RTA expanded the reach of its Go-Pass program by partnering with the Mt. San Jacinto College District. Students at the Banning, Menifee and San Jacinto campuses who pay their student fees are allowed unlimited riders on all fixed-route and CommuterLink buses with the swipe of their ID card.

Fare subsidies[edit]

City of Riverside employees ride free under the CityPass program,[13] which was initiated in the summer of 2007.

Under an agreement with the Riverside County Courts, anyone serving as a juror at the Riverside, Banning and Murrieta Courthouses is entitled to free travel on any RTA bus.

The city of Riverside, using funding from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, began offering discounted bus passes to all residents of the city in December 2009. This program, called Riverside Go Transit, provides a 30% discount on monthly passes.[14]

Any person who meets RTA active duty military, police or fire personnel requirements rides free on RTA fixed-route buses. Active duty military personnel must wear the appropriate uniform at the time of boarding or present to the driver a valid U.S. Unformed Services ID card indicating active service or a Common Access card indicating uniformed services or active duty. Police and fire personnel must be in full uniform at the time of boarding. Customers must wear the appropriate uniform or show appropriate ID each time they board a bus to receive the discounted fare. [15]

Transit centers[edit]

RTA maintains several transit centers throughout their service area. The primary transit center, the Riverside Downtown Terminal, is located between University and Mission Inn Avenues just west of Market Street in downtown Riverside. It has 8 bus bays and is located adjacent to the Riverside Greyhound station.

The Perris Station Transit Center, located between 1st and 2nd Streets east of C Street in Perris, opened on January 10, 2010, with 6 bus bays and a park-and-ride lot. The center is also a station for weekend excursion trains from the Orange Empire Railway Museum, and will be a station on the Metrolink Perris Valley Line, which is scheduled to be running at the end of 2015.

The Corona Transit Center opened in September 2010, adjacent to the North Main Corona Metrolink station. The center has 8 bus bays, additional park-and-ride parking and a direct connection to the Metrolink station and its associated parking garage via a pedestrian bridge.

Major transfer points are also located at several shopping centers throughout the area: The Galleria at Tyler, the Moreno Valley Mall, the Hemet Valley Mall, the Lake Elsinore Outlet Center and Temecula's Promenade Mall. Major upgrades at the Galleria at Tyler and Moreno Valley Mall are scheduled for 2014 and 2015 respectively.

To keep up with growing demand for public transit in southwest Riverside County, RTA is developing a new transit center in Temecula.


RTA's 40-foot and CommuterLink buses are powered entirely by compressed natural gas, with the agency's conversion to the fuel completed in 2001. They also operate CNG fueling stations at their Riverside and Hemet maintenance facilities that help fuel not only transit vehicles, but the alternative-fuel fleet of various government agencies.[16]

In 2013, RTA began the process of replacing their old NABI 40 LFW fleet with newer 42-foot, Gillig Low Floor BRT Suburban buses. The traditional red, white and blue colors of RTA have been updated for a sleeker, more modern look. Solid blue covers the top portion of the bus, while a ribbon of blue and red wraps around the bus' sides and rear. The buses have a more spacious interior, and padded and contoured seats, making them more comfortable and easier to maintain and repair. The vehicles also feature colored headsigns; USB charging ports for customers' mobile phones and tablets; and a design that allows for quicker wheelchair fastening, which can speed up customer boarding and alighting.

Keeping with tradition, the new buses are also equipped with security cameras and GPS technology that allows the buses to display upcoming stops and provide automated announcements and other customer service messages.

RTA's contracted routes are served by a variety of unleaded-fuel vehicles ranging in size depending on the demand of the route.


RTA is largely funded by passenger fares, Local Transportation Funds (LTF), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), State Transit Assistance (STA), Riverside County Measure A, and Transportation Uniform Mitigation Fees (TUMF).

Transportation NOW[edit]

In 1992, RTA’s Board of Directors created Transportation NOW to promote the discussion of public transportation alternatives. Since then, the program has grown to include six chapters: Greater Riverside, Hemet San Jacinto area, Moreno Valley/Perris, Northwest, San Gorgonio Pass area, and Southwest. Each chapter meets monthly to discuss current issues surrounding public transit and ways to promote its usage and lobby for improvements.[17]


External links[edit]