SamTrans to launch on-demand bus service in Half Moon Bay and East Palo Alto

in Community

SamTrans riders in East Palo Alto and Half Moon Bay will soon have access to on-demand bus service thanks to a new microtransit program.

Earlier this month, the transit agency’s Board of Directors awarded a contract to Transdev Services launch the service, which is anticipated to start this summer.

The service will enable riders within the East Palo Alto and Half Moon Bay zones to schedule trips using an app or calling the Customer Service Center.

“Pick-up arrival time is provided in real-time, just like ride-hailing apps,” SamTrans officials said. “Trips must start and end in a defined zone.”

East Palo Alto microtransit service will be offered between 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Half Moon Bay service will occur between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., according to SamTrans.

Part of Reimagine SamTrans, the microtransit contract aims to supplement changes to SamTrans bus service and provide additional transportation options in East Palo Alto and Half Moon Bay. The two zones present “different and unique challenges for fixed route bus service,” including “narrow streets, lack of street grid, gaps in the pedestrian network, traffic patterns clogging major arterials, off-peak/weekend traffic, and unique land uses/densities,” according to SamTrans.

This isn’t SamTrans’ first go with on-demand bus service. In May 2019, microtransit service replaced the FLX Pacifica shuttle in the Linda Mar community as part of a 12-month pilot project. The pilot ended shortly after the start of the pandemic and FLX Pacifica shuttle service was restored. The transit agency said lessons were documented and learned from the pilot period.