Thousand Palms, Calif.’s SunLine Transit Agency modified the launch of its SunLine Refueled initiative —a multi-tiered plan outlining new services and improvements for the transit agency — due to a continued increase in COVID-19 cases and the state’s regional stay-at-home order.
The plan for SunLine Refueled includes four pillars: a consolidated fixed-route network, a microtransit service known as SunRide, the 10 Commuter Link, and the Route 1X the first east-to-west express line.
While it was initially scheduled for three of the four SunLine Refueled pillars to begin this week, SunLine 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.
The 10 Commuter Link regional service will be up-and-running 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.
“Our team has worked diligently over the last 3 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/GM. “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’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.
In addition, the SunRide microtransit service will be available in four Coachella Valley zones to connect riders to the fixed-route network. Riders can book this service using 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.