SamTrans sees 3% growth in ECR ridership up 3% in first month; kicks off study of speed improvements

Ridership for the more-frequent ECR service was up by 3% in October over the combined 390/391 routes that served El Camino Real in the previous year, according to the staff report for today’s SamTrans board meeting.  The new service doubled the frequency of these routes to every 30 minutes.

Overall SamTrans ridership was up 2.3% to 46,070, after many months of declining ridership.  If we are calculating correctly, the El Camino line accounted for about 30% of SamTrans ridership and about 40% of ridership growth.

In October, SamTrans kicked off a study of ways to improve the speed of El Camino as well, to meet the needs of a population expected to grow  by 30% by 2040.   The study will cover a range of potential improvements, such as limited service and bus signal priority – which would create a “Rapid” service like VTA’s 522 line – or potentially more substantial changes such as station ticketing machines and dedicated bus lanes, which would create an even faster “Bus Rapid Transit” system.

While El Camino Real runs parallel to Caltrain and is close by for the southern portion of San Mateo County – they diverge past easy walking distance in the City of San Mateo – the buses tend to serve shorter trips, with an average distance of about 5 miles, compared to over 20 miles for Caltrain.

Have you had a chance to ride the ECR since it was introduced? Does the increased frequency make it more appealing? Would you use the bus if it was faster?






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4 Responses to SamTrans sees 3% growth in ECR ridership up 3% in first month; kicks off study of speed improvements

  1. rawocd says:

    I never took 390/391 before the change. Despite both routes having 30ish min frequency, one of the big problems was bus bunching – 390 and 391 would show up every hour outside my apartment by Hillsdale Caltrain. Thats the same frequency of caltrain during off peak hours, and caltrain is much faster.

    Now, with ECR coming every 15-20 minutes, I’ve started taking it for some short trips. It’s slower than caltrain, but not if you include the wait time.

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  3. Jame says:

    I work on ECR and live in the east bay. I have pondered taking transit to work. Right now it looks like it is a 30 minute ride from BART to my office. If that was about 10 minutes shirted with a rapid route, that would probably be enough for me to transit in a few days a week. Also linking some stops with Bay Area bike share would be helpful too.

  4. MV says:

    I wonder if people know that realtime ECR bus arrival times are online via 511. Makes the ECR much more attractive because of that convenience and predictability.

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