Courtesy city of South San FranciscoThe new free South City Shuttle typically makes 15 loops throughout the day during the week.

New grant-funded shuttle starts serving South City

A new bus service has begun shuttling passengers throughout South San Francisco thanks in large part to a two-year transit grant from San Mateo County.

The shuttle is free for riders and loops around South City, making 32 stops at various locations from libraries and SamTrans bus stops to senior centers, schools and City Hall. The 10-mile loop starts and stops at the South San Francisco BART station, and the shuttle typically makes 15 loops throughout the day during the week.

The service, which launched this month, does not operate on weekends or holidays.

After SamTrans began evaluating its most- and least-used bus routes in the area in January, the transit agency ended up discontinuing bus Route 132 and modifying Route 133. Officials, however, noted that both bus routes provided crucial transit options in South City, and the discontinuation and modification left riders without a continuous mode of transportation throughout the city.

To address such concerns, city officials applied and received a transportation grant from San Mateo County to fund a new 22-seat shuttle bus that preserves a public-transit route throughout town.

South San Francisco Mayor Karyl Matsumoto praised the free service for community members and visitors during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new line early this month.

“I'm pleased that we were able to bring back public transportation to portions of the South San Francisco community that lost some of its options due to service cuts,” Matsumoto said in a statement.

The grant, South City management analyst Justin Lovell said, will keep the shuttle running for at least two years. If the bus consistently serves enough riders — approximately 10 per hour is the target — the grant may then be extended for another two years after the first two, he explained.

“I've been on it twice in the last week. There are definitely people riding,” Lovell said. “The goal is to have 10 riders an hour, and if it meets those targets and it's going well, we'll have the opportunity to reapply for grant funds for another two years.”

The county grant covers 75 percent of the total shuttle service cost of $376,000, Lovell said. Funds from Measure A — a voter-approved half-cent sales tax for countywide transportation projects and programs — make up the remainder.

The shuttle runs start at 7:15 a.m. and its last loop begins at 6:15 p.m. on weekdays

SamTrans is not technically running the bus, but the agency has helped to publicize the new route. For more information, riders can visit samtrans.com/scs.

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