Since 2017, SamTrans has been crafting a Business Plan in order better meet current and future needs. The SamTrans Board of Directors received an update on the plan yesterday, bringing more details to light about how the agency will evolve in the future.
The plan has three priorities: sustaining and enhancing services for the transit dependent, expanding and innovating mobility services, and promoting programs that relieve traffic congestion. There are multiple initiatives ongoing or planned for the near future that should deliver on each of these three priorities.
Two programs already underway for the transit-dependent are the Senior Mobility Plan and Youth Mobility Plan. The senior plan includes a pilot taxi voucher program to offer same day service to seniors and ADA riders, partnering with taxi companies and Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft, as well as the hiring of a Mobility Manager to expand outreach efforts to seniors. The senior plan also includes an improved online interface that would act as a click-through Senior Mobility Guide.
The youth plan hinges on the recently hired Marketing Outreach Coordinator doing direct outreach to schools, and could be supplemented by upcoming efforts to expand the Way2Go pass to local colleges while also revisiting the fare structure to make the pass more affordable. Also in the works is a plan to improve signage and wayfinding at bus stops, allowing riders to determine at a glance where they should go next.
In terms of mobility services, the SamTrans Mobile Ticketing App is expected to launch in September, and the agency just entered into a partnership with UC Davis to assess the efficiency of its paratransit service and to study the feasibility of using smaller, nimbler services known as microtransit in San Mateo County. As far as future efforts, SamTrans is looking to introduce Wi-Fi to their buses by picking a provider by the end of summer, as well as electrify its fleet with zero emission buses.
The implementation of the Coastside Study, intended to provide relief to coastside residents, will be put to the SamTrans Board this summer. Finally, the District is interested to comprehensively study the San Mateo County’s community/commuter shuttle network, looking for ways to better connect shuttles with other transit options, integrate shuttles with existing services, improve coverage areas served and look into on-demand alternatives for low-ridership shuttle routes.
SamTrans is also looking at some major projects designed to alleviate traffic congestion on the Peninsula. Last year, the Board approved the Dumbarton Study, which looks to create new mobility alternatives along the Dumbarton Corridor between Alameda County, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. In late June, riders will see the addition of Rapid Bus Service on El Camino Real, supplementing the ECR route that has long stood as the most popular route in the service. Express Bus Service along San Mateo County’s highways, which recently received $15 million in state funds, is expected to begin in 2021.
“Advances in technology combined with demographic and economic changes in San Mateo County have changed the scope of what SamTrans must do for our residents,” said Board President Charles Stone. “This is an ambitious and multi-faceted plan to modernize the services we provide that will help to solve the challenges that face our region.”
About SamTrans: SamTrans operates 71 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.
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