A committee of the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District passed a motion to keep service on the Route No. 8 as it is. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

A committee of the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District passed a motion to keep service on the Route No. 8 as it is. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

Golden Gate Transit bus route saved by zealous riders

Regional bus riders were relieved Thursday after a Golden Gate Transit bus route that shuttles passengers between San Francisco and Marin was spared from cancellation.

The decision to keep the little-used line alive came after, in an unusual move, riders offered to personally campaign to raise ridership on the line.

Allowing Route No. 8 to continue affects only a handful of riders, but the decision may prompt the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District to maintain other routes with low ridership, board members of the district’s Transportation Committee said at a meeting Thursday discussing the potential route

The board committee had considered canceling the evening trips of Route 8 after data revealed low ridership — below the district’s minimum threshold of at least 20 passengers per trip — but ultimately spared the line from its demise.

A small crowd of those riders at Thursday’s meeting said they’d suffer without it.

“It’s the best commute I’ve ever had to the Financial District. I depend on the 8 to get home,” said Aliene Adamson, a Tiburon resident who has taken the bus for 23 of the 40 years she has traveled to The City for work.

The district placed local advertisements to boost ridership on the 8, to little effect. Many board members said the speakers impressed them with their proposals to personally raise ridership to save their bus line.

Notably, the district would not save money by eliminating the line, nor would it lay off drivers, staff said.

When board members suggested saving the bus line, Denis Mulligan, general manager of the Golden Gate Bridge district, said “the board could choose to ignore its policy in this case,” referring to the line’s low ridership that would typically require its cancellation.

Dick Grosboll, president of the board, said, “I could see a Jon Stewart segment on it, how we improved service going into The City and not going home.”

Ultimately, the committee passed a motion to keep the line as is. The proposal will be voted on by the full transit board today.

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