California’s SamTrans board of directors approved the Express Bus Feasibility Study, which outlines the agency’s plan to use express buses to improve mobility options and ease freeway congestion in San Mateo County. The first in a three-phase implementation is recommended to launch as a pilot in mid-2019.
The six goals of the study were to provide additional mobility options for regional trips, increase the share of people using transit along the Highway 101 corridor, develop a cost-effective service, improve transportation equity, enhance access to jobs and population centers, and support sustainable land use and transportation policies.
SamTrans has been awarded $15 million in state funds, partially from Senate Bill 1, to launch an express bus pilot program. The annual operating cost of each route as designed in the study ranges from $2 million to $4 million dollars. The study recommends running peak-only service on most routes with buses every 20 minutes.
SamTrans operated seven express bus routes that were eliminated or restructured in 2009 due to budget cuts brought about by the recession. Reestablishing express routes was listed as a priority initiative in the SamTrans Business Plan and would line up with the SamTrans Strategic Plan goal of increasing weekday fixed-route ridership by 15%.
The study was a collaborative project involving partners from transportation agencies in San Francisco and Santa Clara counties, as well as San Mateo County. The study was funded by SamTrans, Caltrans District 4, and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.