The SamTrans Board of Directors adopted the agency’s Business Plan today, which outlines new plans and programs to more effectively meet the changing transit needs of San Mateo County and better utilize technology to improve mobility for those who live and work in San Mateo County.
“Public transit cannot stand still while people’s needs and available technology change around us,” said Board President Charles Stone. “This plan will help us innovate and evolve to better serve current riders and entice new people to use our services instead of driving alone.”
The plan has three priorities: sustain and enhance services for transit-dependent customers, expand and innovate mobility services, and promote programs that relieve traffic congestion. A total of 16 initiatives are recommended for further study and implementation as part of the Business Plan. Multiple initiatives within each priority area are ongoing or planned for the near future.
Sustain and Enhance Services for Transit-Dependent Customers
Two programs already underway for transit-dependent customers were born out of 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, 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.
A recently-hired youth-focused Marketing Outreach Coordinator is focusing on direct outreach to schools and youth organization, including the launch of a new Youth Ambassador Program. Expanding the Way2Go pass to local colleges is being explored. Also included is a study to assess signage and wayfinding at bus stops, allowing riders to determine at a glance where they should go next.
Expand and Innovate Mobility Services
In terms of mobility services, the SamTrans Mobile App launched this week, and the agency has been working on its 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. SamTrans purchased 65 buses this year that have Wi-Fi capability, and the agency is looking to select a Wi-Fi provider by next year, in addition to continuing to electrify its fleet with zero emission buses.
Promote Programs that Relieve Traffic Congestion
The Board adopted the Coastside Study last month, which outlines near and long-term initiatives to expand and improve existing bus service on the coast. In addition, the plan includes an initiative to comprehensively study 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 and attract riders to high-quality transit service 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. Rapid Bus Service was launched on El Camino Real this past June, supplementing the ECR route that has long stood as the most popular route in the SamTrans network. Planning for transit-signal priority infrastructure, which will offer speed improvements to buses on El Camino Real, is also underway.
Finally, the Express Bus Feasibility Study is currently exploring a robust and convenient express bus network to improve long-haul bus options along San Mateo County’s highways; SamTrans recently received a $15 million grant funded in part by Senate Bill 1 to launch the first phase of the Express Bus service as early as 2019.
About SamTrans: SamTrans operates 70 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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