Pilot project operated on five university-oriented routes during Winter and Spring quarters
Santa Cruz METRO and UC-Santa Cruz shares the success of their Articulated Buses Pilot Project in increasing METRO ridership by university students, reducing bus overcrowding and lessening route “pass-bys” during peak demand.
Since Jan. 1, three articulated buses have been in use by METRO on five routes that serve UCSC and the Coastal Science Campus during Winter and Spring quarters. The pilot project, funded by UC Santa Cruz and the City of Santa Cruz, attempts to meet increasing student demand for bus service and reduce “pass-bys” — instances when buses that are full decline to stop at bus stops because there is no space for additional passengers.
“As a UCSC student who relies on METRO buses to commute to and from campus, I’ve experienced a significant reduction in bus pass-bys on major routes since the articulated buses were implemented,” said Alice Malmberg, 4th Year, Vice President of Internal Affairs, UCSC Student Union Assembly. “This has helped students getting to class and work on time, as well as getting off campus more easily at the end of the day.”
Articulated buses can carry up to 100 passengers — 40 passengers more than standard 40-foot METRO buses — without significantly increasing METRO operating costs.
“This very successful pilot project provides additional capacity without additional bus trips because each articulated bus can carry 40 riders more than a standard METRO bus,” METRO CEO Alex Clifford said. “Ridership levels of almost 100 students have been noted on some peak trips, helping to address demand which has historically resulted in pass-bys and overcrowding.”
The articulated buses make 39 trips each weekday, and 24 each trips each on Saturday and Sunday on routes 10 15, 16, 19 and 20.
“Although one might think the longer buses would be difficult to operate on city streets, they actually are easier than a traditional 40-foot bus because the distance between axles is shorter,” Larry Pageler, UCSC Transportation and Parking Series Director, said. “These buses also provide easier access for those with disabilities because they are ‘low-floor’ vehicles that do not require lifts to get wheelchairs in and out.”
METRO is leasing the three articulated buses from Shuttle Bus Leasing at a cost of $5,000 per vehicle per month from January through June 2018. UCSC has paid for the lease costs along with all other costs related to this pilot project. Additional funding has been provided by the City of Santa Cruz as part of the 2008 Comprehensive Settlement Agreement between the University and various parties.
Pending UCSC funding availability, this pilot project could be continued for the 2018-19 school year.
ABOUT SANTA CRUZ METRO
Established in 1968, Santa Cruz METRO provides public transportation service that enhances personal mobility and creates a sustainable transportation option in Santa Cruz County through a cost-effective, reliable, accessible, safe, clean and courteous transit service. METRO operates 26 year-round routes throughout the county and one additional route when UC-Santa Cruz is in session. Learn more at www.scmtd.com.