SamTrans will make changes to 19 regular bus routes on January 10 as a way to improve its efficiency and provide more reliable service for customers.
The changes include the introduction of hourly weekend service to Route 294, which provides service on Highway 92 between the Hillsdale Caltrain Station and Half Moon Bay. In October, SamTrans successfully piloted hourly weekend service on Route 294 to carry increased crowds visiting Half Moon Bay for the annual Pumpkin Festival. As a result of the enhanced service, ridership increased by 180 percent that weekend. That response, coupled with the demand for increased transit service on the Coastside, provided the basis for the scheduling enhancements.
Every four months, SamTrans adjusts its scheduling and service operations to take into account changing traffic impacts, travel patterns and bus operator availability. The adjustments help SamTrans improve on-time performance standards and make the bus system run more smoothly.
Details of the January 10 schedule changes are available in the agency’s January 2016 Riders Digest here.
Along with the service changes, SamTrans will increase fares on January 10. Adult Local cash fares will increase from $2 to $2.25 as part of series of changes to the bus agency’s fare policy.
The fare change package also raises the Adult Monthly Pass from $64 to $65.60, beginning with the February 2016 pass sales. Those Monthly passes will be on sale at the new rate beginning Jan. 21, 2016. Similarly, the Eligible Discount Monthly Pass will increase from $25 to $27. The Youth Monthly Passes will decrease from $36 to $27 in February 2016.
The changes also establish a 10 percent discount for Clipper customers and increases the age of Youth passengers from 17 to 18 years old, allowing more riders to travel using the discounted Youth pass. The Eligible Discount one-way cash fare will increase from $1 to $1.10. The Youth one-way cash fare will decrease from $1.25 to $1.10 on January 10, 2016.
A full list of the approved fares changes is available here.
The new changes will mark the first time since 2010 that SamTrans has raised fares. The fare increases, which were approved unanimously in November by the SamTrans Board of Directors, are necessary to help address inflationary costs for operating the bus system, and are part of the SamTrans Strategic Plan goals to restore fiscal health in the agency. Transit agencies on average increase fares every 2 – 3 years to meet increasing operating costs.
SamTrans held four community meetings and a public hearing at its October Board of Directors meeting to collect feedback on the proposed fare changes.
Fares for paratransit service—vehicles that transport passengers physically unable to travel on fixed-route buses—were also increased, on January 1. One-way trips on paratransit were raised from $3.75 to $4.25 on January 1, 2016.
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.