SamTrans became a step closer this week to re-installing express bus routes, which were discontinued in 2009 due to recession-era budget cuts.
The transit agency’s plan to reintroduce express buses to lighten freeway traffic in San Mateo County took a step forward Wednesday after the SamTrans Board of Directors approved a feasibility study.
The approved Express Bus Feasibility Study, which was funded by SamTrans, Caltrans District 4 and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, includes six recommended routes expected to be phased in over the next few years.
Two routes, set to launch as a pilot program in summer 2019 depending on funding and resources, would run between Foster City and downtown San Francisco along Highway 101 and between Palo Alto and the west side of San Francisco via Daly City on Highway 280 (see the map of routes below).
Another two routes, set to complement the 101 Managed Lanes Project, is planned for launch in 2022, while the final two routes are aimed for implementation in 2023 or sooner, the transit agency said.
SamTrans will use $15 million in state funds to launch the express bus pilot program. The annual cost of operating each route as designed in the study ranges from $2 to $4 million, the agency said.
“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,” the transit agency said in its statement.