South County

South County

Redwood City, Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Atherton, North Fair Oaks, Portola Valley, Woodside

SamTrans bus service in the South county area includes local routes in the cities of Redwood City, Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Atherton, and unincorporated areas like North Fair Oaks. Many routes serve Caltrain stations and key community destinations like Redwood City Transit Center, Stanford Mall, Cañada College.

South County System Alternative 1 Route Map

Alternative 1 Key Changes

Routes 280 and 281 would be consolidated and Route 281 would run more often.

Routes 294 and 250 would be more direct to Half Moon Bay and to College of San Mateo.

Route 296 would run every 15 minutes, seven days a week.

A new Route EPX would connect East Palo Alto, Redwood City, SFO Airport, and San Bruno BART.

Routes 270 and 276 would be consolidated into a single, shorter route that runs more often to the growing residential and employment areas along Broadway Avenue.

Routes 274 and 275 would be consolidated to provide more frequent service to the highest ridership areas between Redwood City and Cañada College.

Portions of Routes 295 and 286 would have less service in low-ridership areas.

South County System Alternative 2 Route Map

Alternative 2 Key Changes

Routes 280 and 281 would be consolidated and Route 281 would run more often.

A new Route EPX would connect East Palo Alto, Redwood City, SFO Airport, and San Bruno BART.

Routes 270 and 276 would be consolidated into a single, shorter route that runs more often along Broadway Avenue.

Portions of Routes 295 and 286 would have less service in low-ridership areas.

South County System Alternative 3 Route Map

Alternative 3 Key Changes

Routes 280 and 281 would be consolidated. Route 281 would be extended to the Stanford Oval and Redwood City to provide better access to jobs. Route 281 would run every 15 minutes all day on weekdays.

Routes 270 and 276 would be consolidated into a single, shorter route that runs more often along Broadway Avenue.

Routes 274 and 275 would be consolidated to provide more frequent service between Redwood City and Cañada College.

Route 295 would be changed to replace Route 274 service on Jefferson Avenue.

Route 296 would end at the VA Hospital and no longer serve East Palo Alto. Service in East Palo Alto would be replaced by a new East Palo Alto On-Demand Zone. For trips within the zone, patrons can reserve a ride when they need it with a phone call or via an app.

Click on a route number below to learn about proposed changes to each existing SamTrans route serving the South County area, as well as three potential new routes.

Routes 274/275/278 | Route 276 | Routes 280/281 | Route 286 | Route 296 | Route 397 | Route 398

Route 291 (NEW!) | EPX (NEW!) | EPA-OD (NEW!)

Routes 274/275/278 | Redwood City Transit Ctr - Cañada College/Redwood City Transit Ctr - Alameda / Woodside/Redwood City Transit Ctr - Cañada College

Routes 274 and 275 are two complementary routes in Redwood City that both have trips to Cañada College. Route 278 combines the functions for both Routes 274 and 275 and operates on Saturday. Route 274 has below average ridership. The primary riders are students traveling to Cañada College. Most trips on this route carry fewer than five riders. Public input included requests for better transfers to Caltrain, less crowded trips, and more frequent service. Route 275 has average ridership. Public input included requests for more frequent service.

Possible Changes

Route 274/275 Alternatives

Alt 1: Direct, high-frequency service within the county

This option consolidates Routes 274, 275, and 278 into one new route called Route 275 that serves Woodside Road and Cañada College. The low-ridership areas of Route 274 on Jefferson Avenue would no longer have service. Woodside Road would have later evening service. Weekday morning service would run every 20 minutes, and every 30 minutes during the midday and evenings. The new Route 275 would operate seven days a week, replacing Route 278.

Alt 2: Improved connections to rail and the region

This option would keep the existing Routes 274, 275, and 278. Routes 274 and 278 would continue to serve Cañada College from Redwood City, but Route 275 would only run between Woodside High School and Redwood City, where ridership is the highest.
Route 275 would run more often during the morning rush hour. The other times of day would operate the same as the existing service. Route 278 would continue to operate with no changes.

Alt 3: Retain geographic coverage

Alternative 3 similar to Alternative 1, with Routes 274, 275, and 278 being consolidated into one route. Morning rush hour frequency in Alternative 3 would only be every 30 minutes. A restructured Route 295 would continue to provide service on Jefferson Avenue between Alameda de las Pulgas and the Redwood City Caltrain station.

Existing and Proposed Hours of Service

Weekday Saturday Sunday
Existing Route 274: 6:00 AM-10:30 PM
Route 275: 6:00 AM-7:30 PM
Route 278: 7:30-7:30 PM
Alt 1 Route 275: 6:00 AM-11:00 PM Route 275: 6:00 AM-7:00 PM Route 275: 7:00 AM-7:00 PM
Alt 2 Route 274: 6:00 AM-10:30 PM
Route 275: 6:00 AM-7:30 PM
Route 278: 7:30-7:30 PM
Alt 3 Route 275: 6:45-11:00 PM Route 275: 7:45 AM-7:00 PM Route 275: 8:00 AM-7:00 PM

Up to Top ^

Routes 270/276 | Redwood City Transit Center – Florence/17th (Redwood City)

Currently, Routes 270 and 276 provide service every 60 minutes to similar areas of Redwood City. Neither route has high ridership, even though they serve important communities and growing job areas. Both routes compete with a faster, more frequent, and free shuttle connecting the Redwood City Caltrain station with jobs on Broadway.

Possible Changes

Route 270/276 Alternatives
In all three alternatives, Routes 270 and 276 are combined into one route that operates more frequently. SamTrans service east of US-101 would be discontinued due to low ridership but could continue to be served by the Redwood City-Seaport Centre Caltrain shuttle.

Alt 1: Direct, high-frequency service within the county

In Alternative 1, the new Route 270 would serve the Broadway corridor and end at the Marsh Road job area.
Route 270 would serve the Redwood City Caltrain station on Winslow Street. This ensures that riders transferring from Caltrain have the fastest connections to jobs and helps avoid congestion on El Camino Real.
Route 270 would operate every 15 minutes during rush hour and every 30 minutes during the midday on weekdays and all day on Saturdays. The route would operate every 60 minutes on Sundays.

Alt 2: Improved connections to rail and the region

Alternative 2 is the same as Alternative 1 except that Route 270 would operate every 60 minutes on Saturdays.

Alt 3: Retain geographic coverage

In Alternative 3, the new Route 270 would serve the Broadway corridor and the VA Hospital in Menlo Park. Riders could connect to other buses serving East Palo Alto at the VA Hospital.
A new version of the Route 281 would overlap Route 270 between Marsh Road and Redwood City, which means a bus would run every 15 minutes or less along Bay Road.
Route 270 would operate every 30 minutes on weekdays and every 60 minutes on Saturdays. Route 281 would provide Sunday service on the corridor.

Existing and Proposed Hours of Service

Weekday Saturday Sunday
Existing Route 270: 6:30 AM-7:30 PM
Route 276: 6:30 AM-6:30 PM
Route 270: 7:30 AM-7:15 PM
Alt 1 Route 270: 6:30 AM-7:00 PM Route 270: 7:30 AM-7:00 PM Route 270: 7:30 AM-7:00 PM
Alt 2 Route 270: 6:30 AM-7:00 PM Route 270: 7:30 AM-7:00 PM Route 270: 7:30 AM-7:00 PM
Alt 3 Route 270: 6:30 AM-7:30 PM Route 270: 7:30 AM-7:15 PM

Up to Top ^

Routes 280/281 | Purdue/Fordham (East Palo Alto) – Stanford Mall / Onetta Harris Center – Stanford Mall

Routes 280 and 281 are two overlapping routes that serve Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, and Menlo Park. Both routes serve areas considered to have high need for transit service, yet both have low ridership. Routes 280, 281 and 296 serve some of the same areas. During public outreach, we heard that these bus routes are often not on time or do not run frequently enough, especially on weekends. Routes 280 and 281 often get stuck in traffic on University Avenue and it is hard to keep the bus on schedule.

Possible Changes

Routes 280/281 Alternatives
In all three alternatives, Routes 280 and 281 would be consolidated into one route, Route 281, that operates more frequently. Some Route 280 riders would need to walk up to a half mile to a Route 281 or 296 stop for service.

Alt 1: Direct, high-frequency service within the county

In Palo Alto, Route 281 would end at Alma Street, east of the Caltrain Station. All transfers to Caltrain, Marguerite Shuttles, VTA, and SamTrans would still be possible via the tunnel under the Caltrain tracks. A stop on Alma Street would reduce the travel time to and from East Palo Alto and improve reliability by not traveling into the transit center. Riders west of the Palo Alto Caltrain Station would still be able to use the Marguerite Shuttles or Route ECR to access their destination. The new 281 would run every 20 minutes during rush hour and midday on weekdays and every 30 minutes on weekends.

Alt 2: Improved connections to rail and the region

Alternative 2 is the same as Alternative 1.

Alt 3: Retain geographic coverage

Route 281 would be extended from the Onetta Harris Community Center to Redwood City via the Bayfront Expressway, Marsh Road, and Bay Road to provide a direct connection between East Palo Alto and multiple job areas in Redwood City.
Route 281 would be extended to the Stanford University and Hospital campus to better connect East Palo Alto residents with jobs and services at Stanford. The Palo Alto Caltrain station would be served via stops on Alma Street to avoid the traffic and delays at Palo Alto Transit Center. Route 281 would run every 15 minutes during rush hour and midday on weekdays and every 30 minutes on weekends. Transportation within East Palo Alto would be improved by introducing an on-demand zone. 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.

Existing and Proposed Hours of Service

Weekday Saturday Sunday
Existing Route 280: 5:30 AM-10:30 PM
Route 281: 6:00 AM-10:30 PM
Route 280: 7:45 AM-8:15 PM
Route 281: 8:00 AM-8:15 PM
Route 280: 7:45 AM-8:15 PM
Route 281: 8:00 AM-7:15 PM
Alt 1 Route 281: 6:00 AM-10:30 PM Route 281: 8:00 AM-8:15 PM Route 281: 8:00 AM-7:15 PM
Alt 2 Route 281: 6:00 AM-10:30 PM Route 281: 8:00 AM-8:15 PM Route 281: 8:00 AM-7:15 PM
Alt 3 Route 281: 6:00 AM-10:30 PM
EPA OD: 6:00 AM-10:30 PM
Route 281: 8:00 AM-8:15 PM
EPA OD: 6:00 AM-10:30 PM
Route 281: 8:00 AM-7:15 PM
EPA OD: 6:00 AM-10:30 PM

Up to Top ^

Route 286 | Middlefield/OakGrove (Menlo Park) – Sharon Park (Atherton)

Route 286 is a low ridership peak-only route that is designed for school connections.

Route 286 Alternatives

Proposal for All Alternatives

Route 286 would be renamed Route 86 and would operate one trip in the morning and one trip in the afternoon aligned with school bell times.

Existing and Proposed Hours of Service

Weekday Saturday Sunday
Existing 7:00 AM-9:15 AM,
3:30 PM-6:00 PM
All Alternatives 8:45 AM-9:15 AM,
4:15 PM-5:00 PM

Up to Top ^

Route 296 | Redwood City Transit Center – Bayshore/Donohue (East Palo Alto)

Route 296 has strong anchors at both ends of the route and serves important, high need communities. Public input included requests for more frequent peak service and better on-time performance.

Possible Changes

Route 296 Alternatives

Alt 1: Direct, high-frequency service within the county

To reduce travel time and improve reliability for riders, Route 296 would no longer enter the VA Hospital driveway and instead serve a stop on Willow Road. It would operate more often, up to every 15 minutes, seven days a week.
About 75 riders would need to walk an extra three minutes and over more than 700 riders would have a three-minute faster ride.

Alt 2: Improved connections to rail and the region

Route 296 would no longer enter the VA Hospital driveway and instead serve a stop on Willow Road to reduce travel and improve reliability.

Alt 3: Retain geographic coverage

Route 296 encounters traffic on Willow Street and in East Palo Alto, which causes on-time performance issues. To address this, Route 296 would end at the VA Hospital. Direct service between Redwood City and East Palo Alto would still be available with a new version of Route 281. Route 296 would operate more often on weekends, every 20 minutes.
Transportation within East Palo Alto would be improved by introducing an on-demand zone. 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.

Existing and Proposed Hours of Service

Weekday Saturday Sunday
Existing 3:30 AM-2:45 AM 3:45 AM-2:15 AM 3:45 AM-2:15 AM
Alt 1 3:30 AM-2:45 AM 3:45 AM-2:15 AM 3:45 AM-2:15 AM
Alt 2 3:30 AM-2:45 AM 3:45 AM-2:15 AM 3:45 AM-2:15 AM
Alt 3 3:30 AM-2:45 AM 3:45 AM-2:15 AM 3:45 AM-2:15 AM

Up to Top ^

Route 397 | Palo Alto Transit Center - Downtown San Francisco

No changes are proposed to this route.

Route 398 | San Francisco – SFO – Redwood City Transit Center

Existing Service

Route 398 is a low ridership route, particularly north of the San Bruno BART Station. Route 398 duplicates service provided by Route ECR, Caltrain, and BART. Travel times from South County to downtown San Francisco are long and uncompetitive with driving. The public’s primary feedback was to improve on-time performance and operate more frequently.

Possible Changes

Route 398 Alternatives

Alt 1: Direct, high-frequency service within the county

This option discontinues Route 398 due to low ridership.
All riders would continue to have options on Route ECR, Caltrain, and BART. Fares for these longer-distance trips may be higher.

Alt 2: Improved connections to rail and the region

This alternative is the same as Alternative 1.
All riders would continue to have options on Route ECR, Caltrain, and BART. Fares for these longer-distance trips may be higher. A new SamTrans express route from San Mateo, called the SMX, could provide bus service into downtown San Francisco for Route 398 riders.

Alt 3: Retain geographic coverage

This option redesigns Route 398 to more quickly connect South County with SFO and BART, without an extension to San Francisco. On El Camino Real, Route 398 would operate as a limited stop service, with stops approximately every half mile.
Route 398 would end at San Bruno BART Station. All riders in San Francisco would continue to have options to ride Caltrain or BART. Fares for these rail trips may be higher.

Existing and Proposed Hours of Service

Weekday Saturday Sunday
Existing 5:00 AM-11:30 PM 5:45 AM -11:15 PM 5:00 AM-10:30 PM
Alt 1
Alt 2
Alt 3 5:00 AM-10:00 PM 5:45 AM-10:00 PM 5:45 AM-10:00 PM

Up to Top ^

Route 291 | San Carlos - Redwood City (NEW!)

Route 291 is a potential new route connecting San Carlos and Redwood City east of El Camino Real. The target market is residents as well as a growing job area.

Possible Changes

Route 291 Alternatives

Alt 1: Direct, high-frequency service within the county

This route would not exist in this alternative.

Alt 2: Improved connections to rail and the region

This route would not exist in this alternative.

Alt 3: Retain geographic coverage

In alternative 3, this route would serve Industrial Boulevard, connecting the communities and jobs east of El Camino Real to the Redwood City Transit Center and the San Carlos Caltrain Station. The route would operate every 30 minutes all day, seven days a week.

Existing and Proposed Hours of Service

Weekday Saturday Sunday
Existing
Alt 1
Alt 2
Alt 3 6:15 AM-7:00 PM 7:00 AM-7:00 PM 7:00 AM-7:00 PM

Up to Top ^

EPX | San Bruno – SFO – Redwood City – East Palo Alto (NEW!)

Existing Service

Route EPX would be a limited stop route linking East Palo Alto to the San Bruno BART Station on weekdays, with stops at SFO International Airport and in Redwood Shores. This route was identified in the US 101 Express Bus Feasibility Study (SamTrans, November 2018).
A regular fare would be charged for this route.

Possible Changes

EPX Alternatives

Alt 1: Direct, high-frequency service within the county

In this alternative, Route EPX would operate on weekdays every 30 minutes during morning and evening peak hours and hourly during the midday. It would not operate on weekday nights or on weekends.

Alt 2: Improved connections to rail and the region

In this alternative, Route EPX would operate on weekdays every 30 minutes during morning and evening peak hours, and hourly during the midday and early evening. It would not operate on weekends.

Alt 3: Retain geographic coverage

This route would not exist in this alternative.

Existing and Proposed Hours of Service

Weekday Saturday Sunday
Existing
Alt 1 6:15 AM-7:00 PM
Alt 2 6:00 AM-9:00 PM
Alt 3

Up to Top ^

EPA-OD | East Palo Alto On Demand Service (NEW!)

Possible Changes

On Demand Zones

The East Palo Alto on-demand service would allow people to travel to and from places within a zone that is mostly east of US-101, but would also include the Menlo Park VA Medical Center and neighborhoods directly west of the freeway.
This zone would connect people to SamTrans bus routes 281, 270, and 296. Route 281 would connect riders to Palo Alto Caltrain Station, Stanford Shopping Center and Stanford University. The on-demand zone would connect to Routes 270 and 296 at the Menlo Park VA Medical Center. This would provide a connection to points outside of East Palo Alto such as the Menlo Park Caltrain station, Redwood City Hall, Redwood City library, Sequoia Station Shopping Center, grocery shopping on El Camino Real, and the Redwood City Transit Station for connections to more of the SamTrans and Caltrain network.
The East Palo Alto on-demand service would run from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. seven days a week.

Up to Top ^