SamTrans is preparing to launch the most comprehensive host of service changes the agency has undertaken in more than a decade beginning Jan. 26.
The changes are the result of a two-year study of the bus service’s routes known as the SamTrans Service Plan (SSP). The SSP set SamTrans on a path to improve efficiency, grow ridership and increase reliability by doing ‘more of what works, less of what doesn’t and trying new things.’
To identify ways to achieve these goals, SamTrans conducted extensive community outreach, taking more than 1,200 community comments from dozens of public meetings. The changes being implemented later this month are the direct result of that public process.
“The fundamental message we heard from the community is that more people would take the bus if it was reliable, frequent and convenient,” said Chuck Harvey, deputy CEO, operations, engineering and construction. “These changes are the foundation for making SamTrans more accessible for more people today and into the future.”
One of the key recommendations coming out of the SSP includes the ECR service launched earlier this year along El Camino Real. In studying SamTrans service patterns, data showed that nearly half riders use that corridor for some of their trip. As one of the agency’s key routes it was identified for service improvements which including combining the 390 and 391 to create a more frequent route that provided better reliability and an easier-to-understand schedule.
Following that same philosophy SamTrans is now making changes to nearly every route in its system to improve frequency, reliability and making the schedule more “customer-friendly.”
The FLX pilot services in San Carlos and Pacifica are part of this new approach. These projects came out of collaboration with each of the communities to identify local transportation gaps and develop creative solutions.
The FLX Pacifica will provide a flexible fixed-route service in the Linda Mar area between 7 am. and 5:40 p.m. on weekdays. While it will have a fixed schedule residents will be able to call to schedule a bus pick up within a half mile of the existing route.
The FLX San Carlos will pilot a demand-based service operating between 6:45 a.m. and 6:40 p.m. on weekdays. During peak hours the service will operate on a fixed route but during midday the general public will be able to schedule “dial-a-ride” service.
SamTrans is realigning many routes to improve their performance and grow ridership. In areas where service is being adjusted or eliminated the agency has identified alternatives for existing customers to minimize impacts resulting from the changes. Routes being discontinued include the 123, 132, 262 and 359.