SunLine Refueled begins Jan. 3 at Level 3 service

Jan. 6, 2021
SunLine has modified the launch of the major initiative due to rising COVID-19 cases in California.

SunLine Transit Agency will launch SunLine Refueled Jan. 3 as planned; however, the major initiative will be modified due to an increase in COVID-19 cases and California’s regional stay-at-home order.

While it was initially scheduled for three of the four SunLine Refueled pillars to begin next week, SunLine says it remains focused on keeping passengers and operators safe and will therefore be introducing only the Consolidated Fixed Route Network at a Level 3 service and the SunRide microtransit service at this time.

“Our team has worked diligently over the last three years to develop SunLine Refueled, and a number of efforts have been devoted to gearing up for its launch – such as gathering much-needed community input and finalizing plans in 2020,” said Lauren Skiver, CEO/general manager of SunLine Transit Agency. “And as we are seeing with many other community initiatives, COVID-19 has forced everyone to be flexible in their approach. Launching SunLine Refueled at Level 3 service allows us to deliver exciting additions and changes while maintaining safety at the forefront.”

SunLine Refueled incorporates new transportation trends and alternatives, from microtransit to more direct and express service routes.

The four pillars of SunLine Refueled are:

  • A Consolidated Fixed Route Network;
  • SunRide;
  • The 10 Commuter Link; and
  • The Route 1X.

The 10 Commuter Link regional service will not begin Jan. 3 as projected. However, it will be operational when SunLine returns to Level 1 Service. The Route 1X, an express route for the main Highway 111 corridor, was slated for May 2021 and that timeline has not been adjusted to date.

SunLine’s five-level alert system for the Fixed Route Network was activated in March of 2020 to help communicate alterations to services as health conditions required. Level 3 status, which SunLine Refueled will begin under, means that bus routes are operating under the weekend schedule as part of the new Consolidated Fixed Route Network. This means Route 5 will not be running, as it is a weekday service, and other routes will have longer intervals.

SunRide – which began as scheduled on Jan. 4, 2021 – is a microtransit service that is available in four Coachella Valley zones to connect riders to the Consolidated Fixed Route Network. Riders will use this service with a smartphone app, which will alert a SunRide vehicle to pick them up at a destination within the designated zones and bring them to and from bus stops within the same zone.