Shuttle service back in Redwood City 

Commuters will be able to catch a shuttle to and from work for the first time in more than 20 years, and city officials say a service for residents is on the way this summer.

Redwood City’s commuter shuttle kicks off Monday, with morning and evening routes designed to take employees from the downtown Caltrain station to businesses and destinations along Broadway, Chestnut Street and Bay Road.

The service will be funded through a combination of donors — including the city and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission — and may receive donations from businesses such as Genentech, Claria and Tyco Thermal, who are hoping their employees will use it, according to Christine Maley-Grubl, director of Peninsula Congestion Relief Alliance. Leaders hope those and other companies will donate nearly $20,000.

"We feel strongly about providing commute options," said Kelli Wilder, spokeswoman for Genentech. The biotech company pays its employees $4 per day to use public transit, and already 1,700 of its 8,000 San Mateo County employees use shuttles, especially at its South San Francisco headquarters.

Though a few firms are close to signing agreements with the city, as many as 15 have come forward to participate in along-term partnership, according to Redwood City Councilwoman Diane Howard, who spearheaded the project. Early ridership is estimated at 50 to 70 people per day.

Running a commuter shuttle and a community shuttle service will cost an estimated $180,000, according to Maley-Grubl. That includes $36,000 per year from Redwood City coffers, a $14,000 grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District that will need to be renewed annually and a $60,000 annual grant from the San Mateo City/County Agency of Governments that has not yet been approved.

On March 26, the City Council accepted a $130,000 grant from the MTC specifically for the community shuttle. That route hasn’t been hammered out, but will include trips to the Fair Oaks neighborhood, and could travel to Caltrain, downtown, Kaiser Hospital and the Red Morton Community Center, according to Howard.

"We’re so excited," Howard said. "It will be good to get some people moving around the city, and maybe get some people out of their cars."

Redwood City had a shuttle in the 1970s, which was disbanded because it cost too much money, according to Howard. Likewise, SCOOT, a popular shuttle service in San Carlos that served mostly school-age students and seniors, was disbanded in 2005 after residents voted against a tax to pay for the $600,000-a-year program.

San Mateo once offered a downtown shuttle that has since been abandoned, while Burlingame’s trolley remains an option for residents and shoppers to get around town.

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