The SamTrans Board of Directors approved the Express Bus Feasibility Study at their December meeting, which outlines the agency’s plan to use express buses to improve mobility options and ease freeway congestion in San Mateo County. The first in a three-phase implementation is recommended to launch as a pilot in mid-2019.
The study began with 15 potential routes that were narrowed to the six top-performing recommendations that will be phased in over the next few years. The first two routes recommended by the study would run between Foster City and downtown San Francisco and between Palo Alto and the west side of San Francisco via Daly City with both routes welcoming passengers in both directions. The first two routes are recommended to launch in the summer of 2019 pending identification of funding and resources. Two of the remaining four routes are recommended to launch in 2022 to complement the planned US-101 Managed Lanes Project, with the remainder being implemented in 2023 or sooner.
The six goals of the study were to provide additional mobility options for regional trips, increase the share of people using transit along the Highway 101 corridor, develop a cost-effective service, improve transportation equity, enhance access to jobs and population centers and support sustainable land use and transportation policies.
SamTrans has been awarded $15 million in state funds, partially from Senate Bill (SB) 1, to launch an express bus pilot program. The annual operating cost of each route as designed in the study ranges from $2 to $4 million dollars. The study recommends running peak-only service on most routes with buses every 20 minutes.
SamTrans operated seven express bus routes that were eliminated or restructured in 2009 due to budget cuts brought about by the recession. Reestablishing express routes was listed as a priority initiative in the SamTrans Business Plan and would line up with the SamTrans Strategic Plan goal of increasing weekday fixed-route ridership by 15 percent.
The study was a collaborative project involving partners from transportation agencies in San Francisco and Santa Clara counties, as well as San Mateo County. The study was funded by SamTrans, Caltrans District 4 and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
About the San Mateo County Transit District: The San Mateo County Transit District operates 70 SamTrans 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. The San Mateo County Transit District has provided bus service to San Mateo County customers since 1976.
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