A quicker commute to the North Bay

In the next few years, public transportation between San Francisco and the North Bay could become faster, more reliable and less crowded.

After slashing service four years ago, members of the Golden Gate Highway and Transportation District and other regional transit officials are reviewing a possible future expansion of services as part of a regional effort to reshape the Bay Area’s transportation systems during the next two decades.

Bay Area transit officials are expecting nearly 2 million additional people to flood the Bay Area by 2030.

“We know congestion is going to grow — how can we limit it?” said Doug Kimsey, director of planning at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which oversees the nine-county Bay Area. “The notion is you want to get people making shorter trips by putting jobs closer to housing and then serving that with transit.”

On Thursday, the Golden Gate district, which operates the Golden Gate Bridge and a bus and ferry service, submitted some enhanced-service suggestions for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to review as part of the MTC’s regional transit planning analysis.

Specifically, Golden Gate planning staff suggested additional ferry service between Larkspur and Sausalito to San Francisco.

District spokeswoman Mary Currie said there has been a 6.5 percent increase in riders using ferries between The City and Larkspur over the last few years. During the morning commute, Currie said, a handful of people are always left behind due to limited space on the boats.

Additionally, the district wants MTC to review restoring its transbay bus routes — which cross the Golden Gate Bridge between The City and Marin and Sonoma counties — to levels operated in the early 1980s when the district experienced its highest ridership.

In the early 1980s, the district operated 25 transbay routes. Today, the system runs only 18 transbay routes carrying 60 percent fewer people than it did 25 years ago.

“We wouldn’t bring service back just to bring it back,” Currie said. “We would run these ‘vision’ services … if the demand is there and the money is there to run it.”

arocha@examiner.com


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