San Joaquin Regional Transit District operates mostly within San Joaquin County, with extensive coverage throughout metropolitan Stockton and a network of commuter services linking the county with the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento. It also operates its own Bus Rapid Transit service within Stockton, currently with three lines in operation, and is branded as Metro Express.
The Metro Express is Stockton’s answer to streamlining its bus services. With three lines in operation (see map on right), this fast-growing bus rapid transit network allows commuters to travel around the city quickly and efficiently. It offers the following features:
Three bus types are used on the Metro Express:
Nova Bus LFS Artic HEV (60-footer articulated, low-floor bus)
Used on all services except Route 44.
Used exclusively on Route 44, operating between Downtown Transit Center and Stockton’s industrial area close to the city’s airport.
San Joaquin Commuter
- Dublin/Pleasanton BART
- Various employers in Livermore, Milpitas, Mountain View, San Jose, and Sunnyvale
Some of these services have very early departure times (earlier than 4am) to avoid congestion along Interstates 5 and 580, as well as California Highway 99 and other ancillary routes. And the coaches offer features such as:
- High-back, reclining seats
- Overhead lights and air conditioning vents
- Overhead baggage racks
- Foldable tables
- Audio jack and a station selector
- WiFi connectivity
Local Bus Service
Two variants can be found:
- District-operated: 134xx series
- Operated by National Express: 64xx series
These all-electric buses are used on the following routes, both of which complete a round trip within one hour from Downtown Transit Center:
- Route 55 (DTC – Weston Ranch via Stanislaus)
- Route 60 (DTC – Pixie Woods via W Fremont)
A unique feature of this bus is, once it pulls into DTC, it goes into a special recharging station hanging over the bus, which powers the vehicle for ten minutes before continuing its next trip.
Ripon Blossom Express
Ripon, the southernmost city in San Joaquin County, operates a unique bus service linking the Almond Blossom City with nearby Modesto in Stanislaus County. Known as the Ripon Blossom Express, it is operated by San Joaquin RTD under contract to National Express. Its sole bus, a Gillig BRT Plus 35-footer Hybrid bus, runs twice weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with four round trips per day, serving the city of Ripon and two large attractions in Modesto: Kaiser Medical Center and Vintage Faire Mall.
Metro Hopper is a service provided by San Joaquin RTD as a response to addressing low-density transit routes that used to be served by full-sized city buses. Partly as a result of budget cuts in years past, Metro Hopper fills the void in communities within Stockton that do not support large bus service yet still provide adequate transit options for residents. The main hubs for the Metro Hopper include:
This is the basic vehicle type used for the Hopper service, operating on all routes.
This low-floored passenger van has replaced the Ford E450 cutaway vans above. With 20 units, these can carry 19 seated passengers (with three rows of two being able to be flipped up for up to two wheelchairs), a flip-up ramp operable by the driver using a button (instead of going through a cumbersome procedure which can take several minutes to load and unload a wheelchair), a row of seats wide enough to have a stroller or walker on board, and front mounted bike racks (for two bikes each).
This type is used on the busier Hopper routes within Stockton, notably Route 7. It is also used for many of its Intercity Hopper services that operate between Stockton and points in southern San Joaquin County, namely Tracy, Lathrop, and Manteca.