SAN MATEO (CBS SF/BCN) — After seeing its ridership drop significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans) will be receiving some financial assistance, the agency announced Monday.

The number of rides taken on Sam Trans buses dropped close to 65% due to the COVID-19 pandemic, causing unprecedented challenges for the agency. To alleviate the damage, SamTrans will receive $16 million from the federal government, allowing the agency to continue long-term projects and programs such as Reimagine SamTrans.

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Reimagine SamTrans is a comprehensive analysis of the system’s operation.

“COVID-19 has simply been catastrophic for public transit,” said Charles Stone, chair of SamTrans’ board of directors. “This federal support is vitally necessary to ensure that SamTrans can continue to be there for the people who depend on it.”

SamTrans previously received money from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which allowed the agency to just maintain service.

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Along with SamTrans, other Bay Area transit agencies also received federal monies.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency received $297 million, BART received $274 million, Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District got $55.5 million, while Caltrain and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority each received over $39 million.

SamTrans runs 70 routes in San Mateo County and provides administrative support for Caltrain and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. SamTrans buses have been serving customers since 1976.

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