Muni’s 76x-Marin Headlands Express Service Begins This Weekend

Image: SFMTA

The 76-Marin Headlands, a lightly-used route that has the lowest on-time performance of any Muni line, will be converted into a new route starting tomorrow that is expected to improve reliability, run more frequently, and better serve popular destinations. The revamped line, dubbed the 76x-Marin Headlands Express, will also run on Saturdays in addition to the old schedule of Sundays and holidays.

The 76x is expected to shave 15 minutes off the run between downtown San Francisco and the Headlands, with 19 fewer stops. The route’s SF terminus will be moved from the Caltrain Station at 4th and King Streets to Market and Sutter Streets. On the other end, the line will extend three-quarters of a mile to the Point Bonita Lighthouse.

The line’s on-time performance has nowhere to go but up: It currently arrives at just 10 percent of its stops within the on-time window, defined as the period between one minute before the published arrival time and four minutes after. The overhaul of the line, approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors this month as part of the Muni Transit Effectiveness Project, should improve its reliability. Few people ride the 76, but this upgrade will help demonstrate the effectiveness of stop consolidation, a strategy that could improve performance on many more Muni lines.

The 76 at first wasn’t slated for an overhaul for a few more years, but a grant from the Golden Gate National Recreation Area helped kickstart it, the SF Examiner recently reported:

The SFMTA originally planned to make the changes in 2015. However, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which includes the Marin Headlands, offered to chip in $235,000 to pay for the first 14 months of the service, said Darren Brown, a transportation planner with the park.

Brown said the 76-Marin Headlands is the only transit line that takes passengers directly to different points of the area. Along with reducing the impact of private vehicles in the park, the service changes could introduce visitors to features that are only open Saturdays, such as the Nike Missile Site, a weapons facility built during the Cold War.

Unfortunately, the forecast for the first weekend of service is all rain, but you can always check out an exhibit at the Headlands Center for the Arts if you’re itching to give it a run.

  • Bruce Nourish

    No matter how much faster the 76X is over the old 76, I guarantee the usual suspects will continue to turn out en masse to whine and moan whenever Muni tries to consolidate stops, because their stop is special and transit planners are mean, and their anecdotes trump everyone else’s data.

    At least SF is lucky — most of the radial trunk bus routes seem to have a limited-stop variant which doesn’t stop every ten feet; here in Seattle, we generally don’t.

  • Sprague

    A great improvement and it’s incredible to see it happen so quickly.

  • Anonymous

    Does anyone know what hurdle/requirement MUNI has that would justify extending the 12-Folsom bus line 4 blocks further so as to serve the “Transit Oriented Development” neighborhood with 400-600 foot tall RESIDENTIAL towers of Rincon Hill?

    I’m baffled that even today, with 6,282 residents who live within a block or two of Folsom/Harrison between 2nd Street and The Embarcadero have to walk through dangerous freeway-bound traffic for up to 1/2 of a mile to get to a bus line while I look north of Market Street and see bus lines on almost every other street serving east/west.

    I hate to eat up my very little free time mapping out 2010 Census data on maps to prove that the 6,282 residents in Rincon Hill are a much higher number of residents for the land area under consideration than most other parts of the City with their 40′ building height limits, but SoMa (and Rincon Hill in particular) keeps getting treated as if we’re a stepchild and we should continue driving our cars.  Does anyone know what I can do besides basically mapping out the discrimination for all to see and publicizing it?

    Of course as we continue driving our cars because MUNI fails to acknowledge the population SoMa has quadrupled since 1990 (from about 11,000 in 1990 to over 40,000 … and growing to probably 60,000-70,000 with all of the entitled housing getting built over the next 10 years), our cars are sucking up valuable space on the streets and contributing to the traffic congestion which blocks intersections, threatens pedestrians and bicyclists, blocks emergency vehicle access, and adds to the cancer causing particulate matter in the air which is already way above safe levels in South of Market.

    Flustered….

  • Bruce Nourish

    The 12-Folsom is proposed for deletion in the TEP, so I wouldn’t bother trying to have Muni extend it:
    http://www.sfmta.com/cms/mtep/documents/rte_012.pdf

    The revised and renamed 10 Sansome would replace it in SOMA:
    http://www.sfmta.com/cms/mtep/documents/rte_010.pdf

    I don’t know that area well, but freeway ramps generally are schedule graveyards due to chronic congestion, and competent agencies try to keep their buses away from them if possible. If the traffic in the area is as bad as you describe, you may find the bus to be not much faster than walking, in which case it’s unlikely to attract many riders.

  • Anonymous

    I believe you mean the 11-Downtown Connector will be replacing the 12-Folsom.

    The 12-Folsom used to run all the way to The Embarcadero/San Francisco Bay, but it ceased moving east of 2nd Street on December 5, 2009.

    The TEP Program seems to be absolutely ignorant that the Planning Department has planned for 20,000 residents east of 2nd Street.  It isn’t just the SFMTA that is ignorant of the plans for the far east end of SoMa – the Recreation and Parks Department is also quite ignorant (or possibly willingly discriminatory, I haven’t quite pinned down their problem with building a playground at the south end of Justin Herman Plaza where today a piece of Rec. and Parks land is used for valet parking of Ferry Building Farmers Market customers’ cars – 1,000 kids are losing the chance to develop because Rec. and Parks insists on renting their land in downtown San Francisco for $10,000 per month for valet parking of cars).

    Folsom Street is wide enough to become a 2-way street with Bus Rapid Transit lanes to allow for transit to woosh by the weekday evening traffic congestion of weekday officeworkers all trying to get onto the over capacity 280,000 cars per day Bay Bridge.

    Even if the SFMTA would just run the 12-Folsom the 4 additional blocks on Saturdays and Sundays when in general the streets have tumbleweeds blowing around because the utilization of the streets by cars is much less when the hundreds of thousands of officeworkers are not here, that would be some social justice for residents in Rincon HIll.

    To think that everyone who has had a stroke, amputation, heart attack, or other issue that prevents free movement can walk 1/2 mile to get on a bus seems to be the prevailing attitude of SFMTA – and its complete bullshit.

    I don’t think RIncon Hill has any better transit right now than the Excelsior – and so we’re building a high density neighborhood where residents are naturally hopping in their cars to go grocery shopping or out to eat.  It just doesn’t make sense to me.

  • JimT

    There is a large gap there, and I’m sympathetic, but as of the 2010 census, the entirety of Census Tract 615 (more or less bounded by 3rd, Market, Embarcadero, and Townsend) had just 11,500 residents, with a density of about 17,800. Even most of the Sunset tops 20,000/square mile. Second to Embarcadero is 1/2 mile, which is a little far between transit but not that much. The Mission has a 3/4 mile gap in east-west transit between 16th and 24th Streets, in an area with nearly 50,000 people per square mile. In both cases, there’s a geography or congestion reason why running transit is very difficult. 

    In short, I completely agree it’s a little too far between lines, and creates a transit gap in an up-and-coming district. However, I would disagree with the characterization that it’s very unique to Rincon Hill.

  • Anonymous

    Here’s the block by block 2010 census population in Rincon Hill: http://www.rinconhillsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/RinconHill2010CensusCountMap_Page_1.jpg

    Running the 12-Folsom bus less than 1/2 mile further east to turn up Main Street to drop off folks at the Embarcadero BART station (versus running up 2nd Street and dropping off near the Montgomery Station) hardly seems like it would impact things that much if they just did it on the weekends. 

    I guess on Christmas day, I will be mapping out the block by block populations along these bus routes to prove MUNI is serving other communities without as much potential ridership within 2 blocks of the bus line being served compared to RIncon Hill (sorry but it doesn’t seem like an entire census tract makes sense for comparison when SoMa is Mixed Use, though the mixed uses add on hundreds of thousands of potential 12-Folsom riders on weekdays due to the extremely high intensity of uses for this land for high-rise office in addition to auto shops and print shops): 37 Corbett, 36 Teresita, 39 Coit, 76 Marin Headlands, 16AX or 16BX Noriega Express lines, 35 Eureka, 56 Rutland, or 66 Quintara – and oh yeah, that 83x Twitter Bus that just started out of nowhere and kinda started me on this trail of trying to figure how the fark they can justify creating that new bus line for 350 daily users (last I heard) and not provide a bus in Rincon Hill. If anybody already has this block-by-block 2010 Census data in easily accessible fashion other than me basically looking at a Census block map and then looking up the total population figure, I’d appreciate the time saving tip.

    COngestion pricing is a must to on weekday evenings in downtown SF …

  • Anonymous

     By the way, thank you for the feedback… that’s why I post this stuff.  I’m trying to fish out the arguments for/against extending the 12 Folsom 4 more blocks .. and see if my argument can get shot to pieces.

  • JimT

    In many ways, a community connector style route might be the best fit for the area, similar to the 35, 36, 37, etc. Rincon Hill is surrounded by great transit options, but is in a vacuum itself, since it’s congested, has some street grid breaks, and is hilly — a classic opportunity to have a community circulator that connects to other transit options. Even one or buses could provide pretty frequent headways between the Embarcadero, Market, Transbay Center and Caltrain. I’d pursue that instead of extending the 12, since it wouldn’t cause the runtime/reliability issues Muni probably fears on the 12, and would still help connect residents to their destinations.

    Also, do any of the Rincon Hill residences run shuttles as part of a TDM program? Unfortunately, many new development areas seem to run shuttles that undercut the potential market for public transportation.

  • JimT

    In many ways, a community connector style route might be the best fit for the area, similar to the 35, 36, 37, etc. Rincon Hill is surrounded by great transit options, but is in a vacuum itself, since it’s congested, has some street grid breaks, and is hilly — a classic opportunity to have a community circulator that connects to other transit options. Even one or buses could provide pretty frequent headways between the Embarcadero, Market, Transbay Center and Caltrain. I’d pursue that instead of extending the 12, since it wouldn’t cause the runtime/reliability issues Muni probably fears on the 12, and would still help connect residents to their destinations.
    Also, do any of the Rincon Hill residences run shuttles as part of a TDM program? Unfortunately, many new development areas seem to run shuttles that undercut the potential market for public transportation.

  • Anonymous

    Because the busy routes serving most San Franciscans are doing just great, this makes sense.

  • FredG

    Funded by NPS, so I guess I don’t see what the gripe is about.

  • Anonymous

    This is a move in exactly the right direction: with 15 minutes saved, that’s plenty of time to get to a less-than-optimal local stop.  But nowhere (here, MUNI, 511.org, NextBus) do I see a schedule for this route.  That makes it hard to try it out this weekend.

    One hour service is often fine for outbound, but after a hike or run in the Headlands typically the completion time is not well controlled, and a potential 59-minute wait for the next bus may well deter many customers.  Additionally when I do competitive trail runs out there it’s typical the race will start at 8 am, so I need to be out there by 7:30.  I wonder when the first bus will be.  But if everyone in the city who wanted to hike in the headlands took this bus instead of driving, it would likely be running every 15 minutes.

  • JimT

    Schedule: http://transit.511.org/accessible/schedules/detail.aspx?cid=SF&rte=43896&dir=OB&day=6100&dayid=6100

  • Anonymous

    @51882de79ee0b276731dbb62a4b20f9c:disqus  Isn’t that the old schedule? It just says 76, not 76X.

  • Halfwaytothestars

    I took the 12:30 run today (Sunday, Nov. 18) which picked me up at Van Ness and Union at about 12:43 which is the same time as the old schedule. It got to the Fort Chronkhite in time for about a 15 minute stop. I got off and took some photos and the bus took off on time at 1:30. I didn’t plan to get off at Point Bonita but sadly was unable to tell which stop it would be. It may take some time before the in-bus signs are updated. It would be helpful for the driver to call out the new stops. I got off at the city side of the bridge and later had good luck catching 19 and 45 buses. Glorious day!! And it cost me all of .75 on one transfer.

  • Anonymous

    But that schedule, in addition to being labeled 76, also fails to run on Saturday.  On the other hand it does have the limited number of stops described in the article and does not extend to the Caltrain station.  So perhaps it is 76x and the lack of Sat is an error.  All that said, first bus arriving at the park at 10:16 am is hardly optimal for people who want to do a long day’s hike and is useless for getting to trail races.

  • TinyTim89

    This is good news. I haven’t taken the 76 in several years, but I know that some people would use it as a local route along Sutter/Van Ness. So encouraging usage by only those who are going to the Bridge and beyond is best. What was discouraging was the interminable wait on the return from Fort Chronkhite. I would nervously check its approach way up from the Headlands hiking areas and then rush down to try to catch it. Traffic on 101 coming INTO the City really slows the route throughout the day. I’m glad for the Saturday service, but I fear that the Saturday evening Bridge crawl will wreak havoc with the schedule. (Oh, for a dedicated bus lane!).

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