SamTrans is in the last phase of its public outreach to hear from riders about its upcoming redesigned bus system serving the Coastside and San Mateo County.

The agency’s “Reimagine SamTrans” project is nearing the completion of a three-year process and is expected to launch its new routes in the summer of 2022. On Saturday, SamTrans released its “recommended network” that will be voted on by the board this winter and announced a new network is open for public feedback from Oct. 7 to Nov. 8. 

Last spring, SamTrans detailed its three options to expand service on the Peninsula. The first of the alternatives involved increasing the frequency and number of direct routes. The second option was to expand connections to rail stations. The third kept the current frequency but added an on-demand service where riders can call or use an application to request a ride in a smaller bus anywhere within the designated zone — which extends from just south of Half Moon Bay north to Pillar Point Harbor — from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.  

The recommended network is a combination of all three alternatives. In addition to the on-demand zones, these proposed routes affect major bus routes on the Coastside. Route 17 service would run every 60 minutes, seven days a week, an improvement from every 120 minutes on weekends. SamTrans said the resources saved by reducing stops on the route would allow it to double the service on weekends. 

However, the bus would no longer go through Sunshine Valley Road in Moss Beach and Montara, meaning it would no longer pass Seton Medical Center Coastside. It also cuts connections to Cañada Cove. Pescadero would be removed, though SamTrans said residents on the South Coast can still get rides through SamCoast. 

The new alternative released on Saturday would also impact Route 294’s path over Highway 92. SamTrans would run the same routes to and from Hillsdale and add a stop to the Hillsdale Caltrain station. However, SamTrans said the bus has below-average ridership and it would remove stops at the College of San Mateo and San Mateo Medical Center. The new network would allow Route 294 to operate every hour, every day of the week.

In Pacifica, Route 110 would run every 30 minutes seven days a week during peak and midday periods. The bus would loop through the Linda Mar neighborhood instead of stopping at the park-and-ride. Meanwhile, Route 112, which connects Sharp Park to Colma BART, would stop at Sharp Park and not extend into Linda Mar. The hours and frequency would not change. 

A SamTrans survey of 2,000 riders from April 5 through June 6 found that the plurality (37 percent) of respondents said their first choice was to expand connections to rail stations, just edging out the option to increase the frequency and number of direct routes (34 percent). Twenty-nine percent of respondents said the on-demand rides were their first preference. 

SamTrans spokesman Dan Lieberman said the design is meant to focus on prioritizing equity, improving efficiency, and expanding connections. 

“After years of outreach and studies and hearing from thousands of people, we are confident that we have found a way forward that will better serve our riders and the communities we serve for years to come,” Lieberman said.

 

August Howell is a staff writer for the Review covering city government and public safety. Previously, he was the Review’s community, arts and sports reporter. He studied journalism at the University of Oregon.

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