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Marin Transit, Golden Gate Transit Revamp Services (Part 2)

Golden Gate Transit coordinated with Marin Transit’s massive service adjustments that took place 12 June 2016, and it has streamlined its regional services that the transit agency has focused on restructuring its Basic Routes. On this post, I will note my impressions of what Golden Gate has done to improve its service (especially) in Marin County.

Streamlining Sausalito Service

Prior to the major service change in early June, two basic routes served Sausalito: Route 10 (from around 6am to 8pm) and Route 70 (from around 8pm to 2am). Not to mention, Route 10 also had three terminals in southern Marin County:

  • Strawberry (Reed & Belvedere) – weekdays only
  • Tam Valley (Marin & Spruce) – weekday peaks only; one AM trip southbound, two PM trips northbound
  • Marin City (Donahue & Terners) – weekends and holidays

​​Route 70 also had a variation through Lincoln Avenue in San Rafael when it ran via Sausalito early mornings and late nights, augmenting service provided by former Routes 45/45K; all the while, most Route 70 trips operate through Spencer Avenue bus pad. Now, things have changed, with the Route 10 being rebranded as the Route 30, and all Route 70 trips serve the Spencer Avenue bus pad instead of operating some trips via Sausalito and Lincoln Avenue.

Route 30 is nearly identical to multiple Marin Transit routes between Sausalito and San Rafael, including Routes 17, 22, 36, and 71X. It also provides a more consistent service between Sausalito and San Francisco, with hourly services all day between 4:45am and 2am weekdays, and from 5:45am to 2am weekends and holidays. A routing bonus: this route restores daily service along Andersen Drive between Golden Gate Transit’s San Rafael yard and Lindaro Street, which was previously provided only during weekday peak periods on Route 580. As a result, no more service is provided to either Strawberry or Tam Valley:

  • To travel between Strawberry and Marin City, use Routes 17 (via Mill Valley) or 22
  • To travel between Tam Valley and Marin City, use Route 61
Service on Route 70, on the other hand, has been reduced to hourly service all-day, every day, instead of operating with various frequencies weekdays and every 30 minutes on weekends. Additional service between Marin City, San Rafael, and Novato are now available on the following services:

  • Local (all bus pads) services:

    • Golden Gate Route 30 (above) between Marin City and San Rafael
    • Marin Transit Route 35 between San Rafael and Novato via Northgate (north of Terra Linda only)
    • Marin Transit Route 36 between San Rafael and Marin City
  • Local (select bus pads) services:

    • Marin Transit Route 17 between San Rafael and Tiburon Wye bus pad
    • Golden Gate Route 27 between San Rafael and Tamalpais Drive bus pad
    • Marin Transit Route 49 between San Rafael and Novato via Hamilton (Lucas Valley, Marinwood, and Ignacio)
    • Marin Transit Route 245 between San Rafael and Smith Ranch Road (N San Pedro only)
  • Express (select bus pads only) services:

    • Marin Transit Route 71X between Marin City and Novato
    • Golden Gate Transit Route 101 between Spencer Avenue bus pad and Novato

More Service on Route 101

Since its introduction in June 2009, Route 101, the semi-express bus between Santa Rosa and San Francisco, has been greatly expanded to become an all-day, every day service. In the latest shakeup, this route has been expanded even further with adding two new southbound trips and one northbound trip weekdays, as well as extending a short-trip to Novato to become a full trip to Santa Rosa, and revising weekend schedules significantly. In short, this route now operates roughly every 30 minutes during weekday peak periods in the peak direction (AM southbound, PM northbound), with hourly trips most of the day, and additional short trips between San Francisco and San Rafael daily.

Service Change Observations

Aside from what was reported before that Route 22’s and 49’s operations have been transferred from Golden Gate to Marin Airporter and MV Transportation, respectively, it seems that the revamped schedules have allowed Golden Gate to streamline its operations further, especially on routes operated by Marin Transit. What I mean include:

  • Nearly all Route 35 and Route 36 trips get the New Flyer D60LF articulated bus, owing to the large ridership around the Canal neighborhood in San Rafael. 
  • All Route 23X and Route 29 trips get the New Flyer DE35LFW hybrid bus, perhaps to test the waters on the new, interlined service.
  • With Route 22 now under Marin Airporter’s operation, using a 30-footer Gillig BRT Hybrid bus can be tricky, especially during rush hours when passengers from College of Marin can fill up the bus easily en route to San Anselmo and San Rafael. Let’s see what happens when Route 122, the College of Marin Express, comes back to service in late-August.
  • Now that Route 49 is under MV Transportation’s control, it now requires four (4) buses for most of the day on weekdays (except between 10am and 1pm) while retaining its two bus requirement on weekends and holidays. Hopefully, it will cope with potentially large crowds when the Marin County Fair comes around starting this Thursday, with Route 35 helping in transporting passengers to and from the Fairgrounds and Marin Civic Center. Interestingly, when a Gillig BRT 40-footer hybrid bus is out of commission for repairs or rest (it has 5 units), this route would see an El Dorado National XHF35 high-floored bus, the same bus used for the Muir Woods Shuttle (Routes 66 and 66F).
  • Service to and from Kaiser Hospital and Nova Albion Way in San Rafael is provided exclusively by the Ford E450 heavy-duty shuttle vans (seats 20), with Routes 245 and 257 (operated by Marin Airporter), significantly lowering its available seats per day on weekdays. Prior to 12 June, Routes 45K and 259 provided a mixture of big bus and shuttle services to the area.
  • The introduction of Route 71X (and its subsequent extension to Sausalito) means it cannot use the New Flyer articulated bus; instead, it uses the Orion V bus.
Now that Golden Gate Transit and Marin Transit have made substantial service adjustments, I am looking for minor tweaks in the following service change come September.

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