Alternatives

What are the three network alternatives?

The project team designed three new options for bus service. These are known as “bus system alternatives.” Each bus system alternative sets a different vision for future bus service in San Mateo County, and each has benefits and trade-offs.

Alternative 1 Frequency Map

Alternative 1: Direct, High-frequency Service within our County

Alternative 1 emphasizes direct and frequent bus service in San Mateo County. In this alternative, buses on high-demand routes would come more often all day, seven days a week. Routes would become more direct. However, less service would be provided in some parts of the county and in San Francisco.

Summary of Route Changes

The primary improvement of this alternative is to create a high-frequency network of routes that operate at least every 15-minutes for at least twelve hours seven days a week. High frequency service ensures that transfers between buses, Caltrain, and BART have short wait times.

Seven routes would have frequent, all-day service, including Routes ECR North and South, Route 120, Route 130 between Colma BART and Oyster Point, Route 141 between San Bruno BART and South San Francisco, Route 292 between Millbrae and Bayshore, and Route 296.

Currently, 54,000 residents and 10,000 jobs are within a five-minute walk of high-frequency bus service. Alternative 1 would add 190,000 residents and 133,000 jobs near high-frequency service.

Two new long-distance routes within the county are introduced to improve transit travel times and improve connectivity. The ECR Rapid would connect Redwood City and the San Bruno BART Station. A new Route EPX would connect East Palo Alto, Redwood City, SFO, and San Bruno BART.

Access to college would be improved. Route 140’s streamlined alignment would reduce travel time between Daly City BART and Skyline College by about five minutes. Travel time from San Bruno BART to Skyline College would be reduced by a similar amount. Travel times between the Hillsdale Shopping Center and College of San Mateo would be reduced by several minutes with a more direct alignment. Service frequency between Redwood City and Cañada College during morning peak time would be improved from every 30 minutes to 20 minutes.

Frequency improvements were also targeted for several routes where existing travel demand, land use, or ridership patterns suggest latent demand for additional service. Weekday frequency service would be improved from Pacifica with Routes 110 and 112, in Daly City with Route 122, in Redwood City with Routes 270 and 275, and in East Palo Alto with Route 281.

Service was reduced in several areas and duplication between routes was reduced. Specific examples of this include:

  • Route 120 would no longer extend to Mission Street (Muni 14R and SamTrans 121 would continue to do this)
  • Route 112 would no longer operate between Sharp Park and Linda Mar (Route 110 would continue to do this)
  • Route 292 would no longer travel into San Francisco (Muni Routes 9, 9R, 8, and T would make this connection)
  • Route 130 would no longer travel between Hillside and Daly City BART (Route ECR would make this connection)
  • Route 398 would be deleted. Caltrain and BART would make this connection.
  • Route 140 would no longer travel between San Bruno BART and the SFO Airtrain station. The new Route EPX and BART would provide this connection.
  • Route SFO would be deleted. A restructured Route 292 and BART would provide this connection.

Areas with low ridership were targeted for service reductions, which leaves some areas without access to fixed-route service. These areas include Foster City, north of California State Route 92, portions of Redwood City along Whipple Avenue, Jefferson Avenue, and Alameda de las Pulgas, areas in Belmont along Ralston Avenue, and areas in Menlo Park along Santa Cruz Avenue.

Route ECR would be split into two routes at Millbrae BART to improve service reliability and the associated travel speeds. Route ECR North would operate more frequently. This proposal would require about eight percent of daily riders to transfer, but longer-distance passengers may use Route ECR Rapid to avoid transferring.

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Alternative 2 Frequency Map

Alternative 2: Improved Connections to Rail and the Region

Alternative 2 expands connections to rail stations and the region. In this alternative, new routes would connect to key BART and Caltrain stations, employment areas, and college campuses. Faster regional service, including express bus, is included.

Summary of Route Changes

This alternative includes three primary improvements – better feeder service to rail service, service to new or growing travel employment markets, and improved access to educational sites.

Route 130 frequency would be improved to operate every 15-minutes for at least twelve hours seven days a week.

Currently, 54,000 residents and 10,000 jobs are within a five minute walk of seven day a week, all-day high-frequency service. Alternative 2 would add 7,000 residents and 1,000 jobs near high-frequency service.

Rail connections would be enhanced in Alternative 2. The frequency of express trips between Linda Mar/Pacifica and Colma BART would be doubled on Route 118. Foster City would be connected to the reconstructed Hillsdale Caltrain station with more direct and frequent service on Routes 251 and 256. The growing employment areas in Redwood City on Broadway would have better all-day connections to Caltrain on Route 270.

Several neighborhoods and areas that currently lack service would have access. Oyster Point would have two all-day routes to both the South San Francisco Caltrain and BART stations on Route 130 and New Route 126. The Westborough neighborhood in South San Francisco would have a more direct connection to Daly City BART, with trips being more than 15 minutes faster than current travel times.

Speed and reliability for Route 292 would be improved by making service in San Francisco limited stop. Speed and reliability on El Camino Real would be improved by a stop consolidation program that could reduce the number of stops served by Route ECR by more than 25 percent.

Route FCX would be restored and a new Route EPX would connect East Palo Alto, Redwood City, SFO, and San Bruno BART. A new Route SMX between San Mateo and downtown San Francisco would be implemented.

Access to college is improved in Alternative 2. A new Route 124 would directly connect Daly City BART with Skyline College and reducing travel times by up to 15 minutes. Travel time between San Bruno BART and Skyline College would be reduced by about 5 minutes on Route 140. A new Route 249 would directly connect downtown San Mateo with the College of San Mateo.

Service would be reduced in several areas. Specific examples include:

  • Route 121 would no longer extend to Mission Street (SamTrans Route 120 would be extended to Mission Hills Park)
  • Route 112 would no longer run between Sharp Park and Linda Mar (Route 110 would continue to do this)
  • Route 398 would be deleted. Passengers could use Caltrain or BART.
  • Route SFO would be deleted. Passengers could use BART.

Areas with low ridership were targeted for service reductions, which leaves some areas without access to fixed-route service. This includes portions of Redwood City along Whipple Avenue and Alameda de las Pulgas, areas in Belmont along Ralston Avenue, and areas in Menlo Park along Santa Cruz Avenue.

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Alternative 3 Frequency Map

Alternative 3: Retain Geographic Coverage

Alternative 3 maintains geographic coverage and explores innovative transit. Coverage of service throughout the county is maintained and on-demand bus service (microtransit) is proposed for hard-to-reach communities. With on-demand service, riders call or use an app to request a ride and a shared vehicle picks them up and drops them off anywhere within the designated zone.

Frequency of service stays about the same as today on most routes. In addition to retaining geographic coverage, Alternative 3 focuses on improving frequency during weekday midday, evenings, and on weekends.

Summary of Route Changes

Currently, 54,000 residents and 10,000 jobs are within a quarter mile walk of high frequency service. Alternative 3 would add 8,000 jobs to high frequency service.

Alternative 3 would reduce the need to transfer between bus routes. Some specific examples include:

  • A direct connection between Daly City, South San Francisco and SFO Airport (an extended Route 120)
  • A direct connection between South San Francisco and Skyline College and a better connection between South San Francisco and Oyster Point (a restructured Route 140)
  • A direct connection between East Palo Alto and the newly growing areas on Broadway in Redwood City (an extended 281)
  • A direct connection between East Palo Alto and Stanford Medical Center (Routes 280 and 281)

Travel demand, socioeconomics, and population and employment patterns suggest that there are areas that have service needs, but are not currently served. Some of these destinations have limited street networks that may not be appropriate for full-size buses, so flexible on-demand service is also recommended. On-demand zones would operate in East Palo Alto, Foster City, Millbrae, and Half Moon Bay.

A new Route 291 would connect Redwood City and San Carlos between US-101 and Caltrain tracks. Residential densities have been increasing in this area and job growth is expected.

Weekend service improvements to span and frequency would be made for 11 different routes, including Routes 110, 121, 130, 250, 256, 275, 280, 281, 292, 295, and 296.

Some routes would have service reductions. Specific examples of this include:

  • Route 112 would be deleted. Linda Mar, Sharp Park, and Pacific Manor patrons would need to utilize Route 110 and transfer to reach Serramonte.
  • Route 120 would no longer extend to Mission Street (Route 121 would serve this area)
  • Route 120 would no longer travel Serramonte and Colma BART (Routes 121, 122, and 130 would make this connection)
  • Route SFO would be deleted. Passengers could use BART.

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Alternatives Video

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