SamTrans is preparing to launch a range of service changes at the agency beginning Jan. 26, including discontinuing some routes, adding others, piloting a demand-based service and realigning routes to make them more efficient.
The changes are the result of a two-year study of the bus service’s routes. The SamTrans Service Plan aims to improve efficiency, grow ridership and increase reliability. SamTrans conducted community outreach to identify ways to achieve these goals, taking more than 1,200 community comments from public meetings.
“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 of operations, engineering and construction, in a press release. “These changes are the foundation for making SamTrans more accessible for more people today and into the future.”
One of the key recommendations was service improvements to the ECR, El Camino Real, service, which serves nearly half of SamTrans riders on some of their trips. Service improvements implemented last year included combining the 390 and 391 to create a more frequent route that provided better reliability and an easier-to-understand schedule.
Starting Jan. 26, the FLX pilot services in San Carlos and Pacifica are part of the new approach. The FLX Pacifica will provide a fixed-route service in the Linda Mar area 7 a.m.-5:40 p.m. on weekdays. While it will have a fixed schedule, residents will be able to call to schedule a bus pickup within a half mile of the existing route.
Additionally, the FLX San Carlos will pilot a demand-based service operating 6:45 a.m.-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. As long as the rider lives in San Carlos, he or she can call for a pickup. Depending on demand, either a bus or shuttle will pick them up, said SamTrans spokeswoman Jayme Ackemann.
Meanwhile, SamTrans is realigning many routes to improve performance and add riders. In areas where service is being adjusted or eliminated, the agency has identified alternatives for existing customers to minimize impacts resulting from the changes, according to the press release. Routes being discontinued include the 123, 132, 262 and 359. For more information on the changes visit samtrans.com/schedulesandmaps/UpcomingChanges.html.