SamTrans is marking four decades of service to San Mateo County and beyond with a celebration that kicked off at today’s board meeting and will continue with employee and customer focused events through September.
The agency, which began as a bus company by consolidating 11 municipal bus systems, quickly moved to become an industry leader. SamTrans began offering paratransit services through its subsidiary Redi-Wheels, before a federal mandate required all public transit agencies to follow suit in 1990.
“I am very proud of the bus service that SamTrans has been able to provide for the community over the last 40 years,” said SamTrans General Manager/CEO Jim Hartnett. “Public transportation is a vital part of the solution to the region’s economic, energy and environmental challenges. SamTrans bus service helps the community by reducing fuel consumption, providing an affordable alternative to driving, alleviating traffic congestion, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving regional air quality.”
As part of the SamTrans celebration, the SamTrans Board of Directors issued a proclamation officially marking the 40th anniversary during its regular meeting on Wednesday afternoon.
The proclamation reaffirms the San Mateo County Transit District’s commitment to provide high-quality bus transportation service to San Mateo County, in addition to parts of San Francisco and Santa Clara counties and reaffirms the SamTrans commitment to being a mobility leader in partnership with neighboring Bay Area transit providers.
“SamTrans has played such an important role in getting people around San Mateo County for the past four decades,” said SamTrans Board Chair Zoe Kersteen-Tucker. “It is an essential public service that our customers have come to depend on whether they live on the coastside of the county or in communities along the Highway 101 corridor. I am very happy to be a part of an organization that gives people safe, clean, reliable and affordable public transportation options every day.”
In 1988, SamTrans became the managing agency for a half-cent sales tax passed by San Mateo County voters, and was reauthorized by voters in 2004. The half-cent tax makes San Mateo one of a handful of “self-help” counties throughout the state. Self-help counties are able to fund transportation and infrastructure improvements directly and through matching state and federal grant matching programs. The San Mateo County Transportation Authority, managed by SamTrans, administers the tax proceeds for highway, bicycle and pedestrian, streets and roads, shuttles, grade separation and public transportation projects.
In 1992, SamTrans also became the managing agency for the operation of Caltrain service between San Francisco, San Jose and Gilroy. In this role, SamTrans and its partners at VTA and SFMTA, saved the important rail connection on the Peninsula and breathed new life into the aging service by reinventing the 150- year old system with express routes and service improvements. Caltrain will go through its next reinvention, when it begins electric operations in 2021.
To commemorate the ruby anniversary, SamTrans will host a special free public celebration at the San Mateo County Event Center on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The free event will include speeches by local elected officials, bus Roadeo demonstrations, a SamTrans memorabilia exhibit, vintage bus displays, food trucks, kids’ activities and information booths about SamTrans programs and job opportunities.
For more information about SamTrans, visit our dedicated Web page at www.samtrans.com/40th to learn about the history and key milestones of the bus agency.
About SamTrans: SamTrans operates 76 routes throughout San Mateo County. Funded in part by a half-cent sales tax, the San Mateo County Transit District also provides administrative support for Caltrain and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. SamTrans has provided bus service to San Mateo County customers since 1976.