On March 16, 2020, Contra Costa County issued a Shelter in Place (SIP) Order. Since then, County Connection has continuously adjusted service in response to the needs of essential services and their workers. These efforts require significant coordination and time in order to implement an effective service profile that meets various demands. The 600 series, which is County Connection’s service to schools, was halted with the issuance of the SIP order last March. Since then, many schools districts have adopted hybrid schedules with little to no communication with the County Connection. Thus far, County Connection has not received any definitive information on actual start dates for schools typically served by our 600 series.
In order for County Connection to effectively plan for the potential re-introduction of our 600 series routes we require the following information:
School Schedules – days of the week schools are open/bell-times
Academic Calendars- including early-outs/late-in’s and holidays
Additional information regarding your process of re-entering the classroom that may have an impact on student transportation (i.e. blended hybrid learning model, percentage of student body allowed on campus and potential distance learning days)
Federal Regulations prohibit public transit operators from operating exclusive “school bus” type service. This means that all service provided to and for students must not only be available to the general public but must be published in our printed schedules. If we do not comply with these regulations, we are in danger of being sanctioned by the FTA, up to and including loss of funding. This process generally requires two months to develop, publish and disseminate appropriate public schedules as well as create the necessary work assignments.
For the remainder of the 2021 school year County Connection must maintain a six-foot physical distance protocol on all buses. This means we can only allow 10 to 12 individuals on a bus as opposed to the typical 50 to 60 passengers a 600 series route carries. It would take five times as many buses and at least 30 additional operators to move the pre-COVID student demand with the new physical distancing protocols.
As we look forward to this coming Fall, we will be working with the county to enhance our vehicle load capacity with the goal of meeting the expected student demand for the 2022 school calendar year. For additional information regarding County Connection’s response to COVID-19 and protocols please refer to the following link at: https://countyconnection.com/covid19/
Despite our limitation with providing the 600 series service, we continue to operate regular service within close proximity to many schools in our service area. We encourage everyone to visit our maps and schedule page for more information on existing service. Our customer service staff is available to assist with trip planning and/or answer any other questions regarding our service. For inquiries, please call 925-676-7500 or email email@example.com.
Due to COVID-19, many transit agencies throughout the Bay Area face varying degrees of financial uncertainty and must evaluate cost-cutting measures in order to remain financially viable. These are tough decisions and we want your input.
County Connection will conduct virtual meetings in the coming months to inform the public of potential service cuts. The first meeting will provide a general overview of the impact COVID-19 has had on funding levels, the current service profile and three scenarios for potential service reductions. This meeting is scheduled via Zoom on December 1st at 5pm. Subsequent public hearings are scheduled in January.
Please check this webpage on a regular basis to stay informed.
Three service reduction scenarios have been developed with incremental service cuts that would result in cost reductions of $3, $5, and $7 million annually. The selection of the scenario will depend on future financial projections.
Elimination of Routes
Reduction in Hours
Reduction in Annual Costs
Scenario 1 (changes from pre-COVID service)
4, 5, 6, 7, 27, 35, 92X, 95X, 96X
6, 28, 92X
Scenario 2 (changes in addition to Scenario 1)
15, 17, 93X, 98X, 99X
91X, 97X, 315
Scenario 3 (changes in addition to Scenarios 1 & 2)
Route 28 – extend to Concord BART, reroute from Arnold/Center to Muir Rd
Route 35 – eliminate Crow Canyon loop (New change since December webinar)
Route 92X – simplify routing through Bishop Ranch to remove stops at BR15 and Bishop/Sunset
Scenario 3 Map
December 1, 2020
December 2020 – January 2021
Refine plan details
Hold public hearings and gather public comment
February 18, 2021
Summary of comments and draft recommendation to Board for feedback
March 18, 2021
Final recommendation and Title VI Equity Analysis to Board for potential approval
Summer 2021 (or later)
Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 5:00 pm
Members of the public are encouraged to participate remotely via Zoom at the following link or phone number. Members of the public participating by Zoom wishing to speak should use the “raise hand” feature or dial *9. In order to get the full Zoom experience, please make sure your application is up to date.
County Connection will hold four (4) public hearings to gather comments on potential service cuts. The public hearings will review three (3) proposed service reduction scenarios, and each public hearing will focus on a different region of County Connection’s service area.
Comments can be submitted in writing via mail, email, or online, or at one of the scheduled public hearings. Written comments must be received by January 22, 2021. It is anticipated that the Board of Directors will take action on the proposed service changes no later than March 18, 2021.
Core Service Area – Clayton, Concord, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek Tuesday, January 5, 2021, 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm Web link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82806333877 By phone: 408-638-0968 (Meeting ID: 828 0633 3877)
Attention Riders: In an effort to make traveling across multiple public transit service areas easier and safer for paratransit riders, County Connection is piloting a collaborative One-Seat Regional Ride Program. Participating in the service is Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority, operators of Tri Delta Transit, Western Contra Costa Transit Authority, operators of WestCAT, and Livermore-Amador Valley Transit Authority, operators of Wheels Bus. The pilot program aims to streamline current regional ride practices by eliminating required transfers for trips that cross multiple transit service areas. With the new program, passengers can have one-seat for the entire duration of their trip. The program has been in development for quite some time, but amid coronavirus spread concerns, the implementation date has been accelerated to help minimize interactions between passengers, drivers, and vehicles.
How to book a One Seat Regional Ride?
To use this service, call (925) 680-2134 to book a trip.
How much does it cost?
The cost depends on the participating agency’s paratransit fares. When you book your one-seat ride, the reservationist will tell you your final fare.
Which Transit Agencies are currently participating in the One Seat pilot?
County Connection LINK
Tri Delta Transit
What does a One-Seat ride mean?
Once your reservation has been booked, you will be provided a one-seat ride with no need to transfer. A driver will pick you up from your location and take you directly to your final destination.
What if my Paratransit agency does not participate in the One-Seat program?
If either the origin or destination of your trip is outside the areas served by the four participating agencies, your Paratransit agency will assist you in booking a regular transfer trip, and coordinating all arrangements between your paratransit agency and any connecting agencies participating in your trip.
The Central Contra Costa Transit Authority (County Connection) will hold two public meetings and one public hearing to gather comments on the proposed implementation of two one-year pilot programs offering a 20% discount on single-ride Clipper fares for eligible low-income adults as part of the regional Clipper START program, and for youth ages 6-18.
In May 2018, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) approved implementation of a pilot Regional Means-Based Fare Program (later named Clipper START) to provide discounted fares for low-income adults. The initial 18-month pilot, which launched in July 2020, was limited to four of the larger transit systems in the Bay Area: BART, Caltrain, Golden Gate, and Muni. Adults (ages 19-64) with incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty level are eligible for the discount, which is provided using a specially encoded Clipper card. MTC is providing funding to partially offset the cost of the program.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MTC has elected to use funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to expand the Clipper START program to other transit operators in the region, including County Connection.
County Connection is proposing to join the regional Clipper START program and offer a discount of 20% off the regular, single-ride Clipper fare for qualifying individuals. Since the program is limited to adults and County Connection does not offer a discounted fare for youth, staff is also proposing the implementation of a 20% discount off the regular, single-ride Clipper fare for youth riders (ages 6-18) when using a Youth Clipper card. The table below summarizes the proposed discounts.
Current Clipper Fare
Proposed Clipper START & Youth Fare
All cash fares, as well as passes on Clipper, will remain the same. Fares would also remain unchanged for low-income riders who elect not to apply for the Clipper START discount, as well as youth who choose not to use a Youth Clipper card. Seniors (ages 65+) and people with disabilities would continue to receive a 50% discount, and children under 6 will continue to ride free.
If approved, County Connection would begin offering the Clipper START and youth fare discounts as a one-year pilot starting in January 2021. The program will be evaluated in partnership with MTC and the other participating operators to determine the feasibility and potential funding sources for continuing the program beyond December 2021. Due to current uncertainty around schools reopening and ridership demand among youth, the pilot period for the youth fare discount may need to be adjusted in order to ensure adequate usage data is available for evaluation.
Click here for service updates and information on current safety guidelines.
County Connection has been closely monitoring the changes surrounding the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. The health and safety of County Connection employees, passengers, and the communities we serve remains a top priority and the Authority is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all.
On March 16, 2020, a Stay at Home Order was issued in Contra Costa County, along with six (6) other Bay Area counties. County Connection, alongside other public transit providers across the nation, remained an essential service through this time. As such, County Connection has implemented processes, procedures, and mitigation efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These steps were taken following guidance from agencies such the Contra Costa County Department of Health Services (CCHS) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Learn more about County Connection’s response to COVID-19:
From a regional perspective, transportation agencies across the Bay Area have also recognized the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, County Connection began working in partnership with other transportation agencies to develop policies, procedures, and other mitigation efforts that included enhanced communication efforts, vehicle modifications, improved sanitation efforts, and modified work schedules. Each of these efforts were done to promote the safety and well-being of employees, passengers, and the communities we serve.
The collaboration of the Bay Area’s twenty-seven (27) operators has led to the development of the Riding Together: Bay Area Healthy Transit Plan. This plan provides a unified and comprehensive framework of health and safety commitments, mitigation standards, communication efforts, and responsibilities for transit providers, employees, and passengers across all systems. The Healthy Transit Plan uses guidance from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the World Health Organization (WHO). This plan was also developed in partnership with regional leaders, transit employees, paratransit providers, rider advocates, and public health experts to ensure a safe transportation network in the Bay Area.
A key component of the Healthy Transit Plan is the assessment of plan effectiveness through monitoring and data collection. A metrics dashboard is currently in development by all transportation agencies, which will report the progress of each individual transit operator on the common commitments. Dashboard data will be updated monthly and be publicly accessible. The plan is designed to provide a flexible approach that responds appropriately as new information is gained and as changes surrounding COVID-19 occur.
County Connection has joined the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) “Health and Safety Commitments Program,” the public transportation industry’s overarching pledge to passengers that public transit systems are taking all the necessary measures to operate safely as the nation recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Program was developed after asking transit users from across the country what measures would make them feel more confident riding public transportation amid concerns about COVID-19. From this research, the industry identified four key areas that transit systems need to address to earn riders’ confidence:
Following public health guidelines from official sources
Cleaning and disinfecting transit vehicles frequently and requiring face coverings and other protections
Keeping passengers informed and empowered to choose the safest times and routes to ride
Putting health first by requiring riders and employees to avoid public transit if they have been exposed to COVID-19 or feel ill
Let’s make transportation convenient for older adults and people with disabilities!
If you’re an older adult, have a disability, or are a veteran, transportation in Contra Costa County can be challenging. We want to identify ways to make it easier for you to get around the county—whether you’re going to an appointment, getting groceries, visiting family, or anything else.
You can participate from home!
Due to the shelter-in-place we are asking individuals to complete the survey online or participate in a short phone interview. Participants will be entered in a drawing for a $25 gift card!