School-related service is an important element of the SamTrans bus system. School-related service is open to all passengers but is often timed to meet school start and end times. SamTrans school-related service is often listed as two-digit routes in our numbering system (for example, Route 14) but are sometimes included as special trips on three-digit local routes (for example, Route 112).
This service is very important to the community but is also resource-intensive during the most constrained times of day, the peak commute times. Reimagine SamTrans includes proposals for changes to school-related service that improve their efficiency while maintaining service for youth and parents who depend on or prefer to use public transit to get to school.
Like all proposals within Reimagine SamTrans, the school-related service proposals center and prioritize routes that connect high-need neighborhoods with schools. These are neighborhoods where residents are less likely to have access to a car and are more likely to work low-wage jobs or identify as people of color.
Reimagine SamTrans takes a three-prong approach to school-related service changes:
- Consolidate trips on school-related routes
The number of trips and buses provided on each school-related route is evaluated before the start of every school year, based on enrollment and ridership. Each year, SamTrans may consolidate trips when ridership is lower and there is available capacity, including standing room. Standing room is space in a room or bus, where people can stand when all the seats have been occupied.
- Consolidate routes serving the same school
SamTrans is proposing to consolidate up to 10 school-related routes with available capacity into five routes. In each case, two existing school-related routes would become one route that serves more neighborhoods to the same school or schools. In some cases, this would result in a longer ride for some students, but service to almost all areas with existing ridership would still be available. See information below on which routes are being proposed for consolidation.
- Eliminate school-related routes
The third and least used option is to eliminate routes. Out of 37 school-related routes, two very low ridership routes are proposed for elimination. These include Routes 80 and 85. See below for more information.
When might these changes be made?
Some of these changes may be introduced prior to the new Reimagine SamTrans bus network, as schools re-open following closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic and SamTrans tries to offer service to as many students and schools as possible. Changes could be made as soon as August 2021.
Routes 37 and 39 both serve Alta Loma Middle School. Route 37 serves neighborhoods east of El Camino Real and Route 39 serves neighborhoods west of El Camino Real. Neither route carries a full load of passengers.
The proposal for these routes improves efficiency and maintains service for nearly all areas and riders. Routes 37 and 39 would be consolidated into one route that preserves the direct connection between South San Francisco neighborhoods and Alta Loma Middle school. The proposed consolidated route would serve Route 39 stops west of El Camino Real before serving Route 37 stops east of El Camino Real.
All high ridership stops would continue to have service. Riders who use stops along Orange Avenue west of El Camino Real would need to board at Orange Avenue and Fairway or walk to Camaritas Avenue and Arroyo Drive.
Travel time for existing Route 37 riders would be up to ten minutes longer. Route 39 riders would not see a change to their trips.
Routes 16 and 49 both serve Terra Nova High School in Pacifica. Neither route carries a full load of passengers.
The proposal for these routes improves efficiency and maintains service for nearly all areas and riders. Routes 16 and 49 would be consolidated into one route that preserves the direct connection between Brisbane and Terra Nova, but instead takes a different alignment.
The revised alignment would serve Sharp Park, Skyline Drive, Gateway Drive, Hickey Boulevard, Inverness Drive, Skyline Boulevard, and then continue to Brisbane via San Bruno and US 101. The ride to Brisbane would be approximately three minutes longer than existing service.
Areas losing service as a result of this consolidation include Sharp Park Road and Monterey Road, as well as Skyline College. There are almost no riders on these trips.
Routes 53 and 55 both serve Borel Middle School. Route 55 has very low ridership.
The proposal for these routes improves efficiency and maintains service for nearly all areas and riders. Routes 53 and 55 would be consolidated into one route that preserves the direct connection between San Mateo neighborhoods and Borel Middle school. One Route 55 trip in each direction would serve W Poplar Avenue and Clark Drive before serving stops on Delaware Street.
All existing Route 53 riders would have the same service as existing service. Route 55 riders along W Poplar Avenue and Clark Drive would have up to 10 minutes longer rides than existing service.
Routes 61 and 95 both serve Carlmont High School. Route 95 only operates one trip, while Route 61 has several more. Route 95 has very few riders that are not directly served by Route 61 and much of the southern portion of the route carries no riders.
The proposal for these routes improves efficiency and maintains service for nearly all areas and riders. Routes 61 and 95 would be consolidated into one route that preserves service to the stops in San Carlos that are being used. The consolidated route would follow Route 61’s alignment through the Brittan Avenue /Melendy Drive loop and end at the San Carlos Caltrain station via Brittan Avenue, Cedar Street, and San Carlos Avenue.
Almost all Route 61 riders would be unaffected by this recommendation. Route 95 riders on Cedar Street and Brittan Avenue would have up to a 10 minute longer ride. Virtually no riders are on Route 95 south of Brittan Avenue.
Route 80 service to Hillview School and Oak Knoll Elementary School is proposed to be removed from the system due to low ridership.
Hillview Middle School is served by Route 82, 83, and 84 which overlap much of their service areas. Ridership is low on Route 84 and 83.
The proposal for these routes improves efficiency and maintains service for nearly all areas and riders. Route 84 would be consolidated with Route 83 and follow the Route 83 alignment. For riders who board Route 84 along Middlefield Road, Route 82 would still be available between Ravenswood Avenue and Willow Road. There is minimal ridership on the west side of Encinal Avenue. Any riders near Encinal or El Camino Real could still board at Glenwood Avenue and Laurel Street or Glenwood Avenue and El Camino Real.