For nearly 20 years, County Connection has enjoyed a very positive and productive private-public partnership with Sunset Development, the owners of Bishop Ranch Business Park in San Ramon. As a result of this partnership, County Connection provides over 13,000 annual service hours in direct shuttle service between Bishop Ranch and both the Walnut Creek BART station and the Dublin BART station.
Sunset Development invests over $500,000 per year in fare and operational subsidies that help County Connection meet the BART trains at both stations during peak travel times. This financial support enables County Connection to provide over 200,000 passenger trips on our Bishop Ranch shuttles annually. That translates to a lot less cars on I-680 during commute hours. Employees of companies located at Bishop Ranch have a great commute alternative that allows them the option to not drive to work, but rather relax or work as they let County Connection do the driving. Bishop Ranch workers ride free, because Sunset Development covers the fare for them.
The benefit of the private-public partnership, however, goes beyond the Bishop Ranch employees. Anyone can ride the Bishop Ranch shuttles. Open to the public, riders not associated with a Bishop Ranch employer simply pays the fare. With Sunset Development helping with the cost of operating the service itself, County Connection is able to run more buses in the I-680 corridor, providing the general public with additional service.
=In short, we offer a public service that is significantly supported by a private partner that benefits the entire public, not just those employed by the organizations that make up Sunset Development. This is an important distinction because this model is in contrast to what is happening in San Francisco. In the Bay Area, privately sponsored buses – not open to the public and not financially supporting public transit – are proving to be a potential competitor to public transit and are often controversial as a result. A recent guest editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle Why we protest the ‘Google’ buses by Michael Barnes discusses this trend. The County Connection partnership with Sunset Development is exactly what the author is advocating.
Sunset Development has been working with us since 1996! No one has ever tried to protest a County Connection bus heading to Bishop Ranch.
Another benefit of this partnership is that County Connection can identify the buses used for service to Bishop Ranch, as Bishop Ranch branded buses. This helps create the sense that users are riding a service tailored to employees of Bishop Ranch businesses. We also work closely with Sunset Development on the scheduling of the buses serving Bishop Ranch Business Park to help us provide the most convenient service possible.
County Connection is very proud and thankful for our long and successful private-public partnership with Sunset Development. It allows us to provide a better service to the public whether one works at Bishop Ranch or not. And, it enables the employers of Bishop Ranch to offer their employees an effective alternative to the daily congestion of I-680.
We believe that this serves as a model private-public partnership in giving the public high-quality mobility options that are cost effective and contribute to congestion management.