News & Announcements – County Connection

Service Changes Effective November 13, 2022

Winter service changes will take effect starting Sunday, November 13, 2022, and will include changes to Routes 10, 28, 35, 321, 335, 608, 622, and 636.

RouteChangeNew Schedule
10Renamed time point Washington/Clayton. Timetable unchanged.Download PDF
28Rerouted to Center. Added AM trip leaving Amtrak at 6:50.
Times adjusted.
Download PDF
35Northbound times adjusted.Download PDF
321Northbound times adjusted 6 minutes earlier.Download PDF
335Northbound times adjusted 6 minutes earlier.
Southbound times adjusted 2 minutes earlier.
Download PDF
608Removed from service. Stops now served by Route 28.See Route 28 Schedule.
622Times adjusted 10 minutes later and extended route to
Bollinger Canyon/N Gale Ridge.
Download PDF
636Times adjusted 10 minutes later from Pine Valley/Broadmoor.Download PDF

Bus Bridge Courtesy of County Connection

October 15-16: Due to BART trackway repairs in Pleasant Hill between Concord and Pleasant Hill BART Stations, there will be no train service. County Connection will provide free bus bridge for passengers traveling between the BART stations. For more information on this project visit: BART Bridge

Route 311 is also an alternative route with service to Concord, Pleasant Hill, and Walnut Creek BART Stations.

Temporary bus relocation: Route 311 at Concord BART will be relocated to the Route 20 bus stop, located nearby at the first bus stop on the transit aisle. See map for stop location Concord BART Station Map.

Free Rides in October on All Routes

Ride free in October on County Connection. (Image of a cartoon bus flying through the sky.)
  • All County Connection buses and paratransit are free to ride for the entire month of October, no payment required for any passenger. 
  • A month of free rides is made possible by federal stimulus funding and is intended to not only help essential workers save money but encourage commuters to take public transit. 
  • While public transit ridership numbers remain below pre-pandemic levels, County Connection has doubled its passenger count in the past two years. 

Have you heard? County Connection is offering free rides to all who board one of our buses along any route, as well as paratransit. A month of fare-free riding this October is just one of the ways County Connection, and other public transit agencies like WestCAT, hope to encourage more people in Contra Costa County to choose public transportation as a commute option.  

During Fall 2019, average monthly passenger levels were over 300,000 compared to the fall of 2020 when there were fewer than 100,000 monthly passengers, down by 71% from the previous year. By comparison, in August 2022, there’s been some uptick, with roughly 200,000 bus passengers.  

Infographic of monthly passenger averages by year, 2019-2022. Image reflects roughly 300k passengers per month in 2019, 100k in 2020, 150k in 2021, and 200k in 2022.

Although daily routines are returning to what they were before the pandemic, public transit ridership remains low. “County Connection is not the only bus agency that saw a dramatic dip in ridership,” says Bill Churchill, General Manager of County Connection. “Though an industry-wide trend, we are proud to have doubled our passenger count in the past two years.” 

Still, the commuter landscape has changed—maybe forever as more office-based work allows for flexible and on-going work schedules Those who do not have the option to work from home are choosing to drive alone on their commute, leaving many public transit routes with very little ridership.  

Federal funding has been made available for transit agencies to apply toward operational costs as well as a stimulus for increasing ridership. “We plan our routes and frequency of bus service based on our passenger counts,” explained Pranjal Dixit, Manager of Planning, “and travel patterns are still irregular.” In spring 2021, County Connection made a major service change to better match service levels to rider demand, which included shifting resources from peak-hour commute routes in order to preserve essential local service. 

County Connection serves Central Contra Costa County and is especially critical for the essential workforce who may not have any other commute option, as was evident during the height of the pandemic when 20% of passengers never stopped riding. In addition, given recent increases in traffic congestion, gas prices, and climate change impacts, public transit provides a greener, cost-effective alternative to driving alone. Free rides on County Connection will not only help essential workers save money, but hopefully persuade others to get back on transit–perhaps beyond October. 

For more information on County Connection routes serving your area, visit countyconnection.com or call Customer Service at (925) 676-1976.

Service Changes Effective February 20, 2022

Spring service changes will take effect starting Sunday, February 20, 2022, and will include changes to Routes 10, 16, 17, 92X, 98X, 601, 603, 611, 612, and 616.

RouteChangeNew Schedule
10Added PM tripDownload PDF
16Added PM tripDownload PDF
17Revised ScheduleDownload PDF
92XRemoved AM TripDownload PDF
98XRevised ScheduleDownload PDF
601Removed Crest LoopDownload PDF
603Removed From Service – alternate service available on Route 6Download PDF
611Added AM Trip to Concord BARTDownload PDF
612Added AM Trip to Concord BARTDownload PDF
616Added AM Trip to Concord BARTDownload PDF

County Connection General Manager Steps Down

New Leadership Already in Place as Ramacier Departs

County Connection General Manager Rick Ramacier, who announced his intent to step down in August, will end his tenure at the public transit agency on December 31. Ramacier joined County Connection in 1992 as the Accessible Services Manager and has served as General Manager since 1998, where he leads the agency of over 240 employees with an annual budget of $45.3 million dollars.

Throughout his years of service, Ramacier has led County Connection to make major improvements in the quality of its public transit services, including the conversion to a hybrid electric fleet, becoming one of the first California transit operators to introduce inductive in-route wireless charging of battery electric buses; the introduction of an innovative all electric bus service; the coordination of regional paratransit services in Contra Costa County; and playing a leadership role in developing the successful Measure J expenditure plan, approved by the voters, which increased transit services throughout Contra Costa.

“Rick has this ability to see change before others do, and to move things and people forward,” said David E. Hudson, City of San Ramon Mayor and County Connection Vice Chair of the Board of Directors. “As a result, we are in a great position to get ahead in terms of technology and the future of public transit. Rick’s real legacy is that for us, come January, it will be business as usual, because Rick has laid the foundation with a base that we can take from here and continue to build and improve County Connection services.”

In addition to the long-term safety record and financial stability of the agency, Ramacier is particularly proud of the strong, diverse, and highly respected management team he has built over the years.

“As an organization, County Connection is heading in the right direction,” said Ramacier. “If there was anything to celebrate during the COVID ordeal, it was how our professional, diverse, and inclusive culture made it possible to pivot in innovative and crucial ways during the pandemic.”

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency dramatically re-purposed its ADA paratransit service from one service ADA eligible passengers to ones that served multiple Contra Costa County health needs such as: Meals on Wheels meal deliveries; school lunches to low income students sheltering at home doing school online; transporting low income, senior, and homeless people infected with COVID-19; and delivering food and supplies from the Contra Costa Food Bank to needy families who could not leave their homes during the pandemic.

A prominent public transit leader for the Bay Area, the State of California and the Nation, Ramacier is also stepping down in December as Chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Bay Area Partnership Board, as Chair of the Clipper Executive Board, as Association Board Member and Chair of the State Legislative Committee of the California Transit Association, and as Chair of the State Legislative Committee of the California Association For Coordinated Transportation (CalACT). Ramacier is also Past Chair of the Accessibility Committee of the American Public Transportation Association, Past Chair of the Board of Directors of CalACT among other leadership roles.

“As a long-time member and two-term Chair of the California Transit Association’s State Legislative Committee, Rick was directly involved in the largest state policy matters impacting public transit for two decades,” said Michael Pimentel, Executive Director of the California Transit Association. “Spanning Senate Bill 1 implementation, Transportation Development Act reform, the California Air Resources Board’s Innovative Clean Transit regulation, and our industry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rick’s leadership and aptitude for consensus building ensured that the Association was always prepared to represent the interests of communities across our state and to deliver results that substantially improved public transportation for all Californians.”

During the pandemic, in which public transit saw steep declines in ridership, Ramacier was a key member of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) Blue Ribbon Transit Recovery Task Force working with transit operators, labor, and elected officials, which resulted in the Task Force adopting vital rider and worker COVID safety protocols, as well as crafting a future pathway for transit recovery in the Bay Area.

“Rick is one of those silent leaders with the ability to bring very diverse interests together and build a consensus that is focused on the user of the system,” said MTC Commissioner and Solano County Supervisor Jim Spering, Chair of the Blue Ribbon Transit Recovery Task Force. “His leadership and ability to bring the small and large operators together to develop a seamless system that encourages the use of public transit has been a major contribution to the Bay Area Region.”

Ramacier leaves County Connection in a solid financial position with stable labor relations, and its bus and paratransit services poised to regain ridership and ready to take on the next generation of growth and mobility options. He leaves the leadership of County Connection in the capable hands of those he has mentored and guided through the years to assume management positions within the agency with current Assistant General Manager Bill Churchill taking the reins as General Manager on January 1.

“None of our successes would have been possible over the years without all the great women and men who work at County Connection, from the newest transit operator up through the current Assistant General Manager. Through these fine folks I have received the opinions and the stories necessary to make good decisions. They never failed to make me look good. I will be forever grateful for each and everyone of them.”

For more on Ramacier’s departing thoughts, see his December blog: A Fond Farewell, Final Message as General Manager. https://countyconnection.com/a-fond-farewell/

County Connection Wins Sustainability Award

County Connection was honored with a Leadership in Sustainability Award by Sustainable Contra Costa for the Walnut Creek Downtown Trolley (Route 4). The award is for Sustainable Resource Management, which includes waste and pollution reduction, air quality, energy conservation, efficiency, and generation.

The Walnut Creek Downtown Trolley

Route 4 circulates through the city’s downtown core, with layovers at BART and Broadway Plaza, and fares are subsidized by the City of Walnut Creek. In 2012, County Connection purchased four all-electric, trolley-replica buses to operate on Route 4, and two wireless electric vehicle charging stations, including an inductive charger installed at the BART station. County Connection became one of the first public transit authorities in the Bay Area to implement electric buses, and one of the first in the nation to implement a fleet of in-route inductively charged electric buses.

County Connection staff receiving the Leadership in Sustainability Award

As part of accepting this award, County Connection staff were invited to attend an awards gala hosted at the Pleasant Hill Community Center on September 20th. About 200 people attended including representatives from several non-profits, city and county government, and local businesses. County Connection staff accepted the award after an introduction from Cindy Silva, Mayor Pro Tem of Walnut Creek. In addition to this award, County Connection was also recognized by Central Sanitation for its continued water recycling efforts.

Proposition 6 & SB1

What is California Proposition 6?

A measure that will be submitted to California voters as part of the November 2018 election. The ballot measure proposes to repeal the Road Repair and Accountability Act (a fuel and vehicle tax), which is also known as Senate Bill 1 (SB1).

The revenue raised from SB1 is used primarily to repair existing roads, bridges, add bicycle lanes, and increase funding for mass transit projects.

NO VOTE on this measure:

would maintain current revenues under SB1.

  • County Connection would retain approximately $3 million annually for operations and capital projects.
  • Provides $54 billion over the next decade to fix roads, freeways and bridges in communities across California and puts more dollars toward transit and safety.
  • More than $700 million annually for public transportation projects across the state.

YES VOTE on this measure:

would eliminate revenues provided for highway and road maintenance and repairs, as well as transit programs, under SB1.

  • County Connection would lose approximately $3 million annually, which would translate to service cuts.
  • All funding generated by the fuel/vehicle taxes would not be available to fix roads, freeways and bridges across California.

 

What is Senate Bill 1 (SB1)?

The Road Repair and Accountability Act is a Job Builder. It is a landmark transportation investment to rebuild California by fixing neighborhood streets, freeways and bridges in communities across California and targeting funds toward transit and congested trade and commute corridor improvements.

What does it mean for County Connection?

County Connection receives the following funds through SB1 on an annual basis:

State Transit Assistance Program (STA): $2.8 Million

This money helps support the operation of existing routes. This money is distributed via current funding formulas based on agency revenue and population.

State of Good Repair Program (SGR): $119K

This program funds projects to maintain or repair existing transit fleets and facilities. These funds support County Connection’s IT maintenance costs.

What does SB1 cost to motorists?

The California Department of Finance calculated that the average cost to motorists is roughly $10/month.

Here’s how that number was derived:

  • Registration: SB1 imposed a new vehicle registration fee that increases with the value of a registered vehicle. Nearly 50% of all registered vehicles in California are valued at less than $5,000. Forty percent are valued at less than $25,000. Thus, the average annual amount for vehicle registration is approximately $48.
  • Fuel: SB1 increased the sales tax on gasoline by 12 cents per gallon. California’s 26 million licensed drivers consume 15.5 billion gallons per year. That is 577 gallons per driver, multiplied by 12 cents per gallon is $69.24 each. The annual average cost per driver is: Vehicle Registration: $47.85 Fuel: $69.24 Total $117.09 per year OR $9.76 per month.

More information

County Connection, Proposition 6, & SB1 Flyer
Rebuilding California website