SamTrans seeking to improve frequency, reliability with service changes 

click to enlarge SamTrans
  • mike koozmin/2011 S.f. Examiner file photo
  • SamTrans is dropping several routes while adding service in other areas.
SamTrans will launch a wide range of service changes later this month to help improve the frequency and reliability of the bus system for passengers.

Transit agency officials say the service improvements, which include changes to nearly every route in the system, are the most comprehensive that SamTrans has undertaken in more than a decade. The new service will begin Jan. 26.

The changes are the result of a two-year study of the bus service’s routes known as the SamTrans Service Plan. The plan aims to improve efficiency, grow ridership and increase reliability by doing “more of what works, less of what doesn’t and trying new things,” officials say.

SamTrans conducted extensive community outreach on the service plan, taking more than 1,200 community comments from dozens of public meetings. The scheduled changes are the direct result of that public process, according to SamTrans.

“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. “These changes are the foundation for making SamTrans more accessible for more people today and into the future.”

A key recommendation of the plan is the ECR service launched last year along El Camino Real. As one of the agency’s key routes, it was identified for service improvements that include combining the 390 and 391 lines to create a more frequent route with an easier-to-understand schedule.

The goal of the service upgrades, according to SamTrans, is to make the system more “customer-friendly.”

The FLX pilot services in San Carlos and Pacifica are part of this new approach.

The FLX Pacifica will provide a fixed-route service in the Linda Mar area between 7 a.m. and 5:40 p.m. on weekdays. Residents will be able to schedule a bus pick-up within a half mile of the existing route.

The FLX San Carlos pilot is a demand-based service operating between 6:45 a.m. and 6:40 p.m. on weekdays. During peak hours the service will operate on a fixed route, but during midday the public will be able to schedule “dial-a-ride” service.

As part of the service change, SamTrans will discontinue routes, including the 123, 132, 262 and 359. Alternatives have been identified to help minimize any customer impacts.

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