SamTrans Service Plan (SSP) aims to reinvigorate the bus system for a new generation of riders. Over the past decade, since SamTrans last re-evaluated its system, rider transit needs and travel patterns have changed dramatically. SSP is the result of in-depth research on bus service.
“We want to do more of what works, less of what doesn’t, and try new things,” says Aidan Hughes, SSP director. The distinctive challenge facing the agency is to make meaningful, effective changes within the current budget by seeking better systems for serving current customers and reaching new customers. SamTrans staff will be seeking public input through a months-long outreach process that will kick off in September with outreach to community groups and city councils throughout the county, and culminate in public meetings and a hearing before the SamTrans Board of Directors later this year.
SSP breaks the changes into four categories: routes performing well that can serve even more riders through improvements; routes that could perform better with modifications; routes that should be eliminated; and areas where alternative service models should be tested.
More of What Works: Nearly 50 percent of all SamTrans trips take place along the El Camino Real corridor. With the high demand for service in this area, the study demonstrates the need to streamline the amount of service we offer on the routes serving El Camino and increase the travel options for riders. Similarly, the study identifies core markets where employment and population growth are driving greater demand for service. There’s a real opportunity for ridership growth by providing more, better service in these areas. Those core markets include: Redwood City, San Mateo/Burlingame and the Daly City/South San Francisco region. Routes proposed for improvement include: 120, 130, 291, 296, 390 and 391.
Less of What Doesn’t: Other parts of the system would be modified under the new proposal in an effort to better match the service with market demand. Limiting KX and Route 292 service into San Francisco to peak hours only and eliminating San Francisco service on the 391 is being proposed because commute habits have changed. For a comprehensive list of route modifications:
A small number of routes would be proposed for elimination. They include routes: 118, 123, 132, 280, and 359.
Trying Something New: While most of the travel demand is for services operating north-south through San Mateo County, there are areas of significant population and employment growth that offer opportunities for connecting services that are outside the normal bus service. New routes are being proposed for the Burlingame/San Mateo area and Redwood City. “There are some areas where traditional bus service just doesn’t work,” said Hughes. But the demand for transit service still exists.” To meet this demand, the study proposes to launch pilot projects using an alternative “demand-response” style service. San Carlos and PACIFICA are being proposed as testing grounds for this service model based on the limited amount of transit serving those communities and each city’s unique transit needs.
Public Outreach: SamTrans staff will be meeting with the public, riders, businesses and other interests affected by bus service, city councils and community organizations throughout the county to seek feedback and recommendations based on the proposal. As public outreach opportunities are scheduled, they will be posted to the SamTrans website. Any group interested in receiving a presentation should contact email@example.com to make arrangements. Comments on the draft proposal can be made in person at a public meeting, by e-mail or sent by letter to Planning and Development, ATTN: SSP, 1250 San Carlos Ave., San Carlos, CA 94070. Once staff has completed the community outreach process, all of the comments will be considered and a final draft proposal will be submitted to the SamTrans Board of Directors for review in late 2012 or early 2013. Any service changes resulting from the SSP would be scheduled to take effect in mid-2013. Contact Jayme Ackemann, Communications Manager (SamTrans, Caltrain, SMCTA), 1250 San Carlos Avenue, San Carlos, CA 94070, office phone: 650-508-7934.
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