CA: Marin Transit to test north-south shuttle along coast

April 24, 2024
The shuttle is a reservation-only service available through the Marin Access program. The program is meant for people who are unable to independently use regular bus routes and services.

Apr. 23—Marin Transit is launching a new north-south shuttle loop designed to serve seniors and people with disabilities in western Marin.

The shuttle is a reservation-only service available through the Marin Access program. The program is meant for people who are unable to independently use regular bus routes and services.

Marin Transit already provides shuttles and bus lines connecting western Marin residents to the Highway 101 corridor. The new route will run up and down from Stinson Beach to Bolinas and Olema and to Point Reyes Station and back. Initially, the shuttle will operate once or twice a week with multiple trips per day.

On April 8, the Marin Transit board approved the use of $152,000 to launch the shuttle beginning in June.

"The service is really flexible and the drivers coordinate with the riders during the course of the day to take them to the destinations they need to go to," said Joanna Huitt, a planner for Marin Transit.

The new shuttle comes as Marin Transit works to improve connectivity in western Marin. Serving the coastal area has historically been challenging because of low population density, low or inconsistent demand and other barriers.

Huitt said that compared to the rest of the county, western Marin residents are older and could benefit from more services.

A recent survey designed to collect comments on programs, desired improvements and hopes for new programs generated 143 responses. The survey found that a north-south connector was lacking, specifically for older adults.

"Overall, one of the main things that we learned is that residents in all communities desire the ability to travel within West Marin communities to access critical services," Huitt said.

Access to the Bolinas Post Office and pharmacy and medical offices in Point Reyes Station were common destinations, she said.

Marin Access runs biweekly shuttles to and from Point Reyes Station and Novato, and weekly shuttles to and from Dillon Beach and Tomales and Petaluma. Reservations are required seven days in advance. The general fare is $4, or $2 for seniors, people with disabilities and youths.

Huitt said the majority of shuttle riders travel at no cost because of Marin Access fare assistance.

Marin Transit also operates the West Marin Stagecoach buses that are wheelchair-accessible as part of its regular service. Route 61 runs between Sausalito and Bolinas and Route 68 loops between San Rafael and Inverness.

The general fare for the stagecoach routes is $2, while seniors, people with disabilities and youths pay $1.

Survey feedback on the stagecoach routes was limited, Huitt said, but the agency expects to analyze responses to recommend some improvements to service.

Marin Transit also offers a volunteer driver program in which residents can sign up to be drivers for people who need rides. Volunteers receive mileage reimbursement, but participation is low in western Marin. The agency is considering options to promote the program, recruit volunteers and other improvements for the service in coastal communities.

Regarding the new pilot shuttle, Huitt said hours and days of service are still being worked out, but the program is planned to launch early June. The agency plans to provide a program evaluation in early 2025.

Supervisor Dennis Rodoni, whose district covers western Marin, said he is interested in seeing staff explore partnerships with taxis, and ride-share companies such as Lyft and Uber, to see if they could provide alternative services.

North Bay Taxi works with the schools in the area, Huitt said. Regarding Uber, Huitt said, service demand is low.

"Public transit as we know is really difficult on the rural coast. I'm grateful for the services we do have," Rodoni said. "I think this is a great opportunity — because it's a pilot — to really test what may or not be successful."


(c)2024 The Marin Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.)

Visit The Marin Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.) at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.