Op-ed: Save Golden Gate Transit Service on Geary Blvd
Stop the circling-the-drain erosion of transit to and from the North Bay
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As a member of the San Francisco Transit Riders (SFTR) and a long-time transit rider in San Francisco and the North Bay, I am disturbed to learn that Golden Gate Transit proposes to entirely eliminate transit service (route 92) along Geary Boulevard as of this September.
This will weaken already poor regional public transit service between San Francisco and the North Bay. Travelers from Marin County will have fewer route options by which to access San Francisco and points south via public transit. Many 92 riders will opt to drive, further congesting city streets and negatively impacting Muni service. Travelers from San Francisco will also have fewer direct options to the North Bay via public transit.
For those unfamiliar with Golden Gate Transit service along Geary Boulevard, it connects southern Marin County via the Golden Gate Bridge, Park Presidio Boulevard, Geary Boulevard, and the Western Addition with the Civic Center and South of Market. From at least the 1980s until 2003, service along Geary Boulevard operated with headways as frequent as every 30 minutes for much of the day (roughly 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.), seven days a week, as Golden Gate Transit’s route 50. In 2003, route 50 was replaced by route 10 and, at some point, service was reduced to mostly 60-minute headways, seven days a week.
In June 2009, daily Golden Gate Transit service along Geary Boulevard was discontinued and replaced with weekday-only commuter service during the morning and evening peaks (as route 92). Current schedules include 8 southbound and 10 northbound trips/day. Of note, the majority of these routes serve “reverse commuters” (people who work in Sausalito/Marin City/Shoreline Office Center and live in the City).
As Golden Gate Transit provides significant weekday commuter service to and from downtown San Francisco (southbound into the City in the a.m. and northbound from San Francisco in the p.m.), many buses operate “not in service” along Geary Boulevard (most buses service is in one direction during commute hours, so they are deadheading back to Marin in the morning or back into San Francisco in the evening).
Therefore, at a minimum, Golden Gate Transit should maintain some level of service along Geary Boulevard (at least for reverse commuters) with the use of what otherwise would be “not in service” buses. Such service would be of minor expense for the District and would be partially (or entirely?) offset by fare revenue, since the buses are running down Geary anyway, just without fare-paying passengers. They could even supplement revenue on these lines by allowing rides within San Francisco, opening up a new, express travel option connecting SOMA and Civic Center with destinations along Geary.
I call on fellow concerned SFTR members and Streetsblog readers to speak up at an upcoming public hearing on Thursday, May 17, at 9 a.m. (or notify the Golden Gate Transportation Committee/Committee of their concerns by 4:30 pm on Friday, May 18, by emailing email@example.com). The hearing takes place in the Board Room in the Administration Building at the Golden Gate Bridge Toll Plaza.
For more information, please see this article from the Marin IJ: Southern Marin bus routes 92, 93 face elimination.