Reconstructing a bus line; an example

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Sonoma County Transit Line 26 - Sebastopol / Cotati / Rohnert Park / Sonoma State

This line from downtown Sebastopol to SSU is deficient in several respects. A large loop in downtown Sebastopol adds approximately 2000 feet of extra travel with no purpose other than to turn the bus around. In the middle of the line, just before an eastbound bus reaches the Hwy 101 underpass, it takes a meandering detour through central Rohnert Park, bypassing the Cotati Hub as well as the site of the future rail station on East Cotati Ave.

The excessive meandering brings the total round trip time of this 12.8 mile route to well over an hour (including layover). Operator cost is unnecessarily high and riders are inconvenienced. If the round trip time of a route can be kept just under an hour (or just under two hours, etc.), the schedules can be more convenient. Clock headways can be used. In other words, time intervals between buses of 60, 30, 20, 15 or 10 minutes can be offered simply by adding buses. Dropping the "Central Rohnert Park Meander" would eliminate 1.6 miles and reduce the round trip running time to less than an hour.

Improving the route between Sebastopol and Sonoma State will help solve another problem. In an effort to save operating costs, Golden Gate Transit is dropping Line 78, an express commuter line from Sebastopol to San Francisco that makes several trips south in the early a.m. and returns north in the evening. It carries few passengers over a long distance, which results in a high subsidy per passenger.

An acceptable substitute service would be possible if SCT Line 26 could get commuters to the Cotati Hub, where a transfer could be made to remaining Golden Gate express lines (IF those express lines stopped at the Hub). Little would be lost by having them stop there, and there is much to be gained.

A functional service on SCT 26 would have trips at least every 30 minutes through most of the day from central Sebastopol to Sonoma State via the Cotati Hub and Cotati rail station. There would be service on a more limited schedule on Saturday and Sunday. Where the current service requires operation of 5.5 vehicle service hours per day, the improved service would be based on 28 vehicle service hours per day, and about half that much on Saturday and Sunday. Operating cost would be approximately $620,000 per year. Approximate components of this amount could be:

Cost of current 26 line service
$100,000
Recovery of County contribution to GGT 78 line
$150,000
Additional fare revenue from additional passengers
$150,000
Parking replacement contribution from SSU
$150,000
Sebastopol parking fee revenue
$30,000
Sebastopol development fees for vehicle trip offsets
$20,000
Cotati municipal contribution
$20,000