Budget-draining shuttles to remain 

Despite a loss in revenue, San Mateo officials will continue to run shuttles from the city business district to Caltrain in order to continue to reduce the carbon footprint.

Alex Feinman, chair of the San Mateo public works commission, said the board voted to keep the shuttle at least another year.
“It’s one more component in the overall strategy to reduce single-occupancy car trips,” Feinman said of the service. “It’s there to serve the community, obviously. And to gain support for public transportation in general.”

The city runs three shuttles free of charge to commuters using Caltrain to get to work in San Mateo and parts of Foster City, according to city documents.

The first shuttle, the Campus Drive Route, links the Hillsdale Caltrain station with West Hillsdale business campuses and residences along the boulevard.

The second, the Norfolk-Hayward Park route, connects the Caltrain Hayward Park station with the Atrium and Waters business parks as well as major corporations along the Bayshore.

The Mariners Island route links the eastern business areas of the city, including Gateway, Mariners Island Boulevard and the Franklin campus in Foster City to the Hillsdale Caltrain station.

In the first quarter of the 2009-10 fiscal year, the shuttles served an estimated 13,496 passengers, which was a 47 percent decline over the first quarter of 2008-09, according to San Mateo documents.

All three shuttles cost an estimated $374,000 to run, with San Mateo contributing $93,500, while the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board and the participating businesses pay the remaining costs.

According to city officials, the shuttles were losing money and ridership.

As a result, staff recommended the commission vote to discontinue the shuttle services, according to Jerry Hill, the city’s public works administrator.

“The commission did not agree with the recommendation,” Hill said.

Hill said the shuttles will continue for at least another year. In the spring of next year, though, more data and information will again be presented to the commission for a decision.

Feinman, who is a user of public transportation himself, however, said he would like to see more information and data on when riders decreased.

He said he would also like to see possible plans to change the routes and input from businesses that use the shuttle.

“The staff needs to survey a little more why riders have dropped,” he said. “I don’t think we should discontinue it. Maybe just breathe a little more life into it.”



Keep on ridin’

San Mateo operates three shuttles that connect the business district with Caltrain stations:

13,496 Passengers riding in first four months of 2009-10 fiscal year
47 percent Decline in passengers from first four months of 2008-09 fiscal year
$374,000 Operating costs for shuttles
$93,500 San Mateo’s share
1 year Period to survey businesses and make necessary changes to program

Source: City of San Mateo

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