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.

Key Changes

Time and frequency:
  • Service every 15 minutes on Routes ECR and 296, seven days a week
  • Additional frequency and later service provided on Route 281 on weekdays and weekends
  • More frequent peak service, later evening service and new Sunday service on Route 275 serving Woodside Road and Cañada College
Streamlined service:
  • Routes 280 and 281 consolidated into Route 281 and extended to Stanford University
  • Routes 274, 275, and 278 consolidated into one Route 275
  • Route 296 would no longer enter the VA Hospital on trips heading toward East Palo Alto to reduce travel time
  • Route 398 eliminated due to rail and bus alternatives
New service:
  • New Route EPX would connect East Palo Alto, Redwood City, SFO Airport, and San Bruno BART
  • A new on-demand service would also be provided in East Palo Alto. This service allows people to call or use a mobile app to schedule a ride from where they are to where they want to go within a certain zone. This service would connect riders directly to places in East Palo Alto and to Routes 281 and 296 to reach more destinations.
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Click on a route number below to learn about proposed changes to each existing SamTrans route serving the South County area, as well as two potential new routes.

Routes 274/275/278 | Route 276 | Routes 280/281 | Route 286 | Route 295 | Route 296 | Route 397 | Route 398

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, 275, and 278 travel between Redwood City and Cañada College.Route 274 provides the most direct service between Cañada College and Redwood City Transit Center, via Farm Hill Boulevard. It had below average ridership and was suspended during COVID-19. The primary riders were students traveling to Cañada College. Before the pandemic, most trips on this route carried fewer than five riders.

Route 275 has average ridership, with more activity connecting residents on Woodside Road to destinations in downtown Redwood City.

Route 278 combined the functions for Routes 274 and 275 and operated only on Saturdays. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Route 278 alignment has served the markets and corridors for these routes.

Public input on these routes included requests for better transfers to Caltrain, less crowded trips, later evening service, and more frequent service.

Recommended Changes

Route 274/275 Alternatives

Coverage (Where it goes)

In the new network, Routes 274, 275, and 278 would be consolidated into one route. The new Route 275 would provide service most similar to the existing Route 278 in both directions. It would use Alameda de las Pulgas and Farm Hill Boulevard to connect Woodside Road and Cañada College.

Jefferson Avenue, previously served by Route 274, would be served between Alameda de las Pulgas and Redwood City Caltrain station by Route 295.

Frequency (How often it runs)

Route 275 would have more frequent service during the morning peak period on weekdays (every 20 minutes) and every 30 minutes the rest of the day. Weekday evening and weekend service would be every 60 minutes.

Hours of Service (When it runs)

Route 275 would operate three hours later on weekdays, until 11 p.m. and new Sunday service would be provided on this route.

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

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 free shuttles connecting the Redwood City Caltrain station with jobs on Broadway Street.Route 270 runs weekdays and Saturdays. Route 276 runs on weekdays.

Recommended Changes

Route 270/276 Alternatives

Coverage (Where it goes)

Route 270 would have no route changes.

In the new network, Route 276 would serve Redwood City Caltrain station from Winslow Road, on the northeast side of the tracks, and then run along Broadway Street, Chestnut Street, and Bay Road, with a loop at Marsh Road, to Scott Drive and Bohannon Drive.

Frequency (How often it runs)

Route 270 would operate every 60 minutes.

Route 276 would operate more often, running every 10 to 15 minutes during weekday peak times and every 30 minutes during the midday and all day on Saturdays. On weekday evenings and all day on Sundays, the bus will run every 60 minutes.

Hours of Service (When it runs)

Route 270 would operate the same hours on weekdays and Saturdays as today.

Route 276 would operate later on weekdays, until 9 p.m., and on weekends until 7 p.m.

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

Route 280 serves Palo Alto and East Palo Alto. Route 281 serves Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, and Menlo Park (Belle Haven). Routes 280 and 281 overlap in Palo Alto between the Stanford Shopping Center and Donohoe Street along University Avenue. Both Routes 280 and 281 connect to Route 296 offering transfers to Redwood City and Menlo Park. Route 280 serves hard-to-reach areas but this creates long travel times.During public outreach, people indicated the routes are unreliable or do not come often enough, especially on weekends. Routes 280 and 281 often get stuck in traffic on University Avenue, making it hard to keep the bus on schedule.

Recommended Changes

Routes 280/281 Alternatives

Coverage (Where it goes)

In the new network, Routes 280 and 281 are combined into one new Route 281. Route 281 would continue to serve the Onetta Harris Community Center, Bay Road, University Avenue, and the Palo Alto Transit Center. Route 281 is also extended to the Stanford University campus to connect riders with jobs and services near Stanford.

Woodland Apartments, Pulgas Avenue, and Fordham Street would no longer be served by Route 280. Routes 81 and 83 would continue to provide school-day-only service in these areas.

A new service called “on-demand” would be provided in East Palo Alto. This service allows people to call or use a mobile app to schedule a ride from where they are to where they want to go within a certain zone. This service would connect riders directly to places in East Palo Alto and to bus routes 281, 296, and EPX to reach more destinations.

Frequency (How often it runs)

The new Route 281 would run more often. It would operate every 20 minutes during the peak and midday weekday periods. On evenings and weekends, the route would operate every 30 minutes.

Hours of Service (When it runs)

Route 281 would receive later service on weekends. The route would run two hours later on Saturdays, until 10 p.m., and one hour later on Sundays, until 8 p.m.

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

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

Recommended Changes

Route 286 Alternatives

Route 286 would be renamed Route 86 and would operate one trip in the morning to Menlo-Atherton High School and one trip in the afternoon to Sharon Park Drive in Menlo Park from Menlo-Atherton High School corresponding to the school bell times. The route would still be available for all to connect to Caltrain and other destinations.

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Route 295 | San Mateo Caltrain – Redwood City Caltrain

Existing Service

Route 295 is a low ridership route connecting Redwood City, San Carlos, and San Mateo primarily via Alameda de las Pulgas. With the exception of school times, most trips carry few passengers. Public input suggested that reliability is an issue.

Recommended Changes

Route 295 Alternatives

Coverage (Where it goes)

In the new network, Route 295 would run between Redwood City, San Carlos Caltrain, and Hillsdale Shopping Center. Service north of Hillsdale Shopping Center would be discontinued and partially replaced with the new Route 249. Route 295 would no longer serve Cordilleras Center due to low ridership.

The portion of the current route between Redwood City and San Carlos would operate on Jefferson Avenue instead of Whipple Avenue. Existing riders on Whipple Avenue could walk about 10 minutes to Alameda de las Pulgas or El Camino Real for service.

In San Carlos, the route would use El Camino Real instead of Cedar Street, between San Carlos Avenue and Brittan Avenue.

Riders on Alameda de las Pulgas between W Hillsdale Boulevard and CA-92 would continue to have service through Route 294. North of CA-92, riders could utilize the new Route 249.

Frequency (How often it runs)

In the new network, Route 295 would operate every 60 min all day, seven days a week.

Hours of Service (When it runs)

Route 295 would receive new service on Saturdays and Sundays. Hours of service on weekdays would not change.

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

Route 296 is a high ridership route that runs between Redwood City and East Palo Alto. Some late night or early morning trips extend to Palo Alto Transit Center. Public input included requests for more frequent peak service and better reliability.

Recommended Changes

Route 296 Alternative

Coverage (Where it goes)

Most of current Route 296 would not change in the new network. To reduce travel time and improve reliability, Route 296 would only enter the VA Hospital on trips heading toward Redwood City. On trips heading towards East Palo Alto, the nearest stop to the VA Hospital would be on Willow Road.

A new service called “on-demand” would be provided in East Palo Alto. This service allows people to call or use a mobile app to schedule a ride from where they are to where they want to go within a certain zone. This service would connect riders directly to places in East Palo Alto and to bus routes 281 and 296 to reach more destinations.

Frequency (How often it runs)

Route 296 would operate more often, with buses arriving up to every 15 minutes, seven days a week during the day. Evening service would continue to be hourly.

Hours of Service (When it runs)

Hours of service would not change.

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Route 397 | Palo Alto Transit Center - Downtown San Francisco

Existing Service

Route 397 provides a late-night connection between East Palo Alto and downtown San Francisco. It operates limited trips between 12:45 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. when Caltrain is not running. A full-length trip takes just under 2.5 hours.

Recommended Changes

No changes are recommended for Route 397.
Route 397

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

Existing Service

Route 398 runs between Redwood City and Downtown San Francisco, providing a mix of local and express service. The route duplicates Route ECR and Caltrain service areas. It runs every 60 minutes, with one-way trips taking nearly two hours in full, much longer than trips on Caltrain.

Ridership is highest between SFO Airport and San Bruno BART. Half of all trips carry fewer than five passengers into or out of San Francisco. North of San Bruno BART, BART is a faster way to get downtown than Route 398.

Recommended Changes

Route 398 Alternatives

In the new network, Route 398 is eliminated. The resources used to operate Route 398 would allow SamTrans to improve weekend service on Route ECR and Route 130, and extend SamTrans service into Oyster Point.

Route 398 riders would have the options of using Route ECR, Caltrain, or during rush hour, the new Route EPX connecting East Palo Alto, Redwood City, and SFO to San Bruno BART. Route 292 will also continue to provide service to downtown San Francisco from San Mateo.

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

Proposed Route Details

EPX Alternatives

Coverage (Where it goes)

Route EPX would be a new limited-stop route connecting East Palo Alto and Redwood City to the San Bruno BART Station on weekdays, with a stop at SFO International Airport. This route was identified in the US-101 Express Bus Feasibility Study (SamTrans, November 2018).

Frequency (How often it runs)

Route EPX will operate every 60 minutes during peak hours.

Hours of Service (When it runs)

Route EPX will run during peak periods on weekdays.

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

On-demand service is proposed in two parts of the county to supplement changes to bus service and provide additional transportation options. On-demand service increases access for people in areas where regular bus service is hard to operate or schedule in a way that works for people who want to ride.On-demand uses a smaller bus or vehicle that can travel on smaller neighborhood streets. 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.

A local bus fare is charged, just like riding a regular SamTrans bus.

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 like the Woodland and O’Keefe apartments.

This zone would connect people to SamTrans bus routes 281 and 296. Route 281 connects riders to Palo Alto Caltrain Station, Stanford Shopping Center, and Stanford University. Route 296 connects 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.

The East Palo Alto on-demand service would run from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. seven days a week.

Route EPA

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