SamTrans’ express bus service debuts Aug. 19 between Foster City and downtown San Francisco with free service for two weeks and end-to-end travel times expected to take between 69 minutes and 79 minutes.

Dubbed FCX, the new express line will employ standard 40-foot buses with 38 seats, side windows featuring a distinctive logo so express buses aren’t confused with regular ones and WiFi hopefully by the first day of service.

“We’re working diligently on installing WiFi on these buses,” Chief Operating Officer David Olmeda said at a meeting Wednesday.

The FCX will travel in both directions only on weekdays and during commute hours. Most of the ride will be on Highway 101 with between 15 and 19 stops depending on the direction.  

FCX service from Foster City to the Ferry Building in San Francisco starts at 6 a.m. and the last morning bus leaves at 8 a.m. with an expected travel time of 68 minutes. 

Return trips from San Francisco to Foster City will occur between 3:35 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. with the same travel time.

FCX service from San Francisco to Foster City starts at 6:25 a.m. and the last morning bus leaves at 8:25 a.m. with an expected travel time of 79 minutes. The return trip from Foster City to San Francisco will be between 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. with a slightly shorter expected travel time. There will be five to six trips in both directions every weekday morning and evening at 30-minute intervals.

After the first two weeks of free service, express buses will cost $4.50 per direction in cash and on the mobile app while paying via Clipper will only cost $4.

SamTrans there will be 1,000 daily trips on the FCX, though officials said achieving half as many riders within the first year would be a “success.”

SamTrans board members have high hopes for the FCX.

“This is incredibly exciting, I can’t wait to hear how successful it is,” said Board Member Charles Stone, also a Belmont councilman. “I have high hopes for this service.” 

The FCX is the first of six express buses lines that will be launched in the coming years. By January 2020, there will be express service between Palo Alto and western San Francisco with a second phase of the project set to launch in conjunction with the Express Lanes project in 2022. That phase includes express service between San Bruno BART and East Palo Alto as well as between San Mateo and downtown San Francisco. A third phase, with an unidentified launch date, includes service between San Mateo and western San Francisco as well as between Burlingame and downtown San Francisco. 

The Express Lanes project entails the construction of a new lane on the San Mateo County stretch of Highway 101. The far left lanes in both directions will then be converted to tolled express lanes that promise speeds of at least 45 mph at all times. Those lanes will be free for buses.

Board Member Dave Pine, also a member of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, echoed Stone’s optimism for the FCX, but wants to see the other express routes to be rolled out sooner than planned.

‘My dream scenario is we get good results, more SamTrans riders and do Phase 3 sooner,” he said.

Go here for more information about the FCX, including stops. 

(650) 344-5200 ext. 102

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