News Archive

Proposed Bishop Ranch Service Restructure

At the February 2019 Board of Directors meeting, staff presented a service restructure proposal for routes serving Bishop Ranch in San Ramon. The Board authorized staff to begin the public hearing process for the proposed changes. Staff will conduct the following two (2) public hearings:

  • Tuesday, April 9, 2019, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
    Walnut Creek Council Chambers
    1666 N. Main St, Walnut Creek
  • Wednesday, April 10, 2019, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
    San Ramon Community Center, Fountain Room
    12501 Alcosta Blvd, San Ramon

Comments are due by April 26, 2019 and may be submitted in the following ways:

  • In writing to:
    Director of Planning & Marketing
    2477 Arnold Industrial Way
    Concord, CA 94520
  • Via email to help@countyconnection.com
  • Calling Customer Service at (925) 676-7500 (Mon-Fri, 6:30am-6:30pm)
  • At the public hearing in San Ramon or Walnut Creek (see details above)

It is anticipated that the Board of Directors will take action on the proposed service changes at their regular meeting scheduled on May 16, 2019.

Proposed Changes

  • Eliminate Route 95X (see proposed Route 97X changes for alternate service)
  • Re-route Route 96X to terminate at the San Ramon Transit Center
  • Re-route Route 97X to operate between Walnut Creek BART and the San Ramon Transit Center via I-680 and Crow Canyon Rd. The route will also serve the Danville Park N Ride on peak trips going to/from Walnut Creek BART. The route will no longer serve Dublin/Pleasanton BART
  • Implement new weekend Route 335 from San Ramon Transit Center to Dublin/Pleasanton BART

BART Early Bird Express

Beginning February 11, 2019, BART will shift its start of service from 4am to 5am on weekdays to allow extra time for a critical seismic retrofit of the Transbay Tube. This change will last for the duration of the 3.5 year-long project.

Alternative bus service will be provided by several Bay Area bus operators, including County Connection. See below for a map of all Early Bird Express routes. County Connection will operate two routes, Routes 712 and 715, serving BART stations within Central Contra Costa.

Visit the BART website for more information: https://www.bart.gov/schedules/early-bird-express

Ride Route 99X for FREE in February

In partnership with 511 Contra Costa, we’re offering free rides on Express Route 99X for all of February.

With 5 morning and 5 afternoon round trips each weekday, Route 99X is a great way for commuters to reach destinations along Highway 4 and Pacheco Blvd, including County offices, the Pacheco Transit Center and the Shell Oil Martinez refinery. It’s also a fast and convenient way to connect between Amtrak and BART.

No pass is required to ride Express Route 99X in February, just hop aboard and enjoy a fast, convenient trip to your destination. Click here for schedule and route information.

This free-ride Valentine’s gift is brought to you by 511 Contra Costa, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority & the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

Spring 2019 Service & Fare Changes

County Connection is planning a major service and fare change for March 10, 2019.

Summary of Route Changes

System Map (effective 3/10/2019)

Schedules to be posted once they are available.
Route
New Route
Alignment Change
Increased Service
Schedule Adjustment
Route Eliminated
Description of Change
New Brochure
1     Increased service     Increase service frequency Download map
1M         Route eliminated Service discontinued  
2         Route eliminated Service discontinued  
4     Increased service     Increase service frequency Download map
5           No changes Download map
6     Increased service     Increase peak service frequency Download map
7       Schedule adjustment   Minor schedule adjustments Download map
9   Alignment change       Remove service to JFK and along Patterson Blvd and Oak Park Blvd (to be replaced by Route 18) Download map
10 Alignment change       Terminate some peak trips at new Washington/Michigan loop. Remove service from Ayers/Kirker Pass loop Download map
11       Schedule adjustment   Minor schedule adjustments Download map
14   Alignment change Increased service     Extend to Walnut Creek BART (to replace portion of Route 15). Increase service frequency Download map
15   Alignment change Increased service     Remove service between Pleasant Hill BART and Walnut Creek BART (to be replaced by Route 14). Extend to John Muir Medical Center in Concord. Increase service frequency. Download map
16       Schedule adjustment   Minor schedule adjustments Download map
17       Schedule adjustment   Minor schedule adjustments Download map
18   Alignment change       Realign route to serve Patterson Blvd and Oak Park Blvd (to replace portion of Route 9). Download map
19   Alignment change Increased service     Streamline route alignment between Galaxy Way and Contra Costa Blvd and between Concord Ave and Concord BART. Remove service along Bisso Ln and Stanwell Dr. Increase service frequency. Download map
20     Increased service     Increase service frequency Download map
21       Schedule adjustment   Minor schedule adjustments Download map
25         Route eliminated Service discontinued  
27 New route         New route from North Concord BART to Bates Ave and Arnold Industrial Way. Download map
28   Alignment change       Remove service between DVC and North Concord BART (portion to be replaced by Route 27). Realign to serve Muir Rd and Arnold Dr. Download map
35   Alignment change Increased service     Extend select trips to Crow Canyon (to replace portion of Route 36). Increase service frequency. Download map
36         Route eliminated Service discontinued. Northern portion to be replaced by Route 35.
91X           No changes Download map
92X   Alignment change       Remove service along Alcosta Blvd Download map
93X       Schedule adjustment   Limited stops trip to serve all stops. Minor schedule adjustments. Download map
95X       Schedule adjustment   Minor schedule adjustments Download map
96X           No changes Download map
97X           No changes Download map
98X     Increased service     Increase peak service frequency Download map
99X   Alignment change       Realign to serve Arnold Industrial Way. Download map
301         Route eliminated Service discontinued. Service between Walnut Creek BART and John Muir Medical Center to be replaced by Route 311  
310   Alignment change       Remove service from Ayers/Kirker pass loop. Select trips extended to serve Downtown Clayton Download map
311   Alignment change       Extend route to John Muir Medical Center (to replace portion of Route 301). Download map
314       Schedule adjustment   Minor schedule adjustments Download map
315     Increased service     Increase service frequency Download map
316           No changes Download map
320       Schedule adjustment   Minor schedule adjustments Download map
321           No changes Download map
627         Route eliminated Service to be replaced by Route 27  
No changes will be made to school routes (600 series) or Routes 250 and 260.

Summary of Fare Changes

Cash fares will be increased to $2.50 for all routes, and paper passes and transfers will be eliminated. Transfers and monthly passes will only be available on Clipper. Clipper fares will remain the same.

Fare Type Current Mar 10 Additional Details
Cash Clipper
Single ride
Adult/Youth Local$2.00$2.50$2.00Cash fare to increase by $0.50 on local routes. Clipper fare will remain at $2.00.
Adult/Youth Express$2.25$2.50$2.25Cash fare to increase by $0.25 on express routes (90 series). Clipper fare will remain at $2.25.
Children under 6FreeFreeWhen accompanied by an adult
Senior/Disabled$1.00$1.25$1.00Cash fare to increase by $0.25 on all regular and express routes. Clipper fare will remain at $1.00.
Senior/Disabled, 10am – 2pmFree$1.25$1.00Midday free program to be eliminated.
Bus-to-Bus transferFreeFreePaper transfers to be eliminated. One free two-hour transfer automatically given on Clipper.
Adult/Youth BART transfer$1.00$1.00Paper BART transfer ticket to be eliminated. Transfer credit automatically given on Clipper.
Senior/Disabled BART transfer$0.50$0.50Paper BART transfer ticket to be eliminated. Transfer credit automatically given on Clipper.
LINK Paratransit$4.00$5.00One-way fare for all LINK paratransit trips
Passes
Adult East Bay Day Pass$3.75
(Clipper only)
$3.75No change. Daily fares are automatically capped on Clipper. (Click here to learn more)
Senior/Disabled East Bay Day Pass$1.75
(Clipper only)
$1.75No change. Daily fares are automatically capped on Clipper. (Click here to learn more)
Regular Monthly East Bay Pass$60.00$60.00Paper monthly pass to be eliminated. 31-day pass for local routes will continue to be available on Clipper.
Express Monthly East Bay Pass$70.00$70.00Paper monthly pass to be eliminated. 31-day pass for express routes will continue to be available on Clipper.
Adult/Youth 12-Ride Pass$20.00Pass to be eliminated.
Adult/Youth 12-Ride Express Pass$23.00Pass to be eliminated.
Senior/Disabled 20-Ride Pass$15.00Pass to be eliminated.
Commuter Card$40.00Pass to be eliminated.

Phase out of paper passes:

  • February 2019 will be the last month that paper monthly passes will be available.
  • Paper punch passes, including 12-Ride Passes, 20-Ride Passes, and Commuter Cards, will no longer be sold starting March 1, 2019.
  • Starting March 1, 2020, paper punch passes will no longer be accepted onboard vehicles.

Outreach Events

Staff will be present at various outreach events to provide information on the service changes, help with trip planning, and answer questions.

We’ll also be giving away limited-edition County Connection Clipper Cards at our outreach events, so be sure to get yours before they’re gone!

County Connection Clipper Card

 

DateTimeLocation
Tue, Jan 15, 20197:30AM – 9:30AM Concord BART
Thu, Jan 17, 20192:00PM – 4:00PM North Concord BART
Tue, Jan 22, 20197:30AM – 9:30AM Pleasant Hill BART
Thu, Jan 24, 20192:00PM – 4:00PM Walnut Creek BART
Mon, Jan 28, 20192:00PM – 4:00PMMartinez Amtrak
Tue, Jan 29, 20197:30AM – 9:30AM Lafayette BART
Wed, Jan 30, 201910:00AM – 12:00PMMartinez Amtrak
Thu, Jan 31, 20192:00PM – 4:00PMOrinda BART
Tue, Feb 5, 20197:30AM – 9:30AMDublin/Pleasanton BART
Thu, Feb 7, 20197:00AM – 8:30AM North Concord BART
Fri, Feb 8, 20199:00AM – 12:00PMMartinez Senior Center
Tue, Feb 12, 20197:30AM – 9:30AMConcord BART
Wed, Feb 13, 201910:00AM – 12:00PMDVC
Tue, Feb 19, 20197:30AM – 9:30AMWalnut Creek BART
Tue, Feb 19, 20191:00PM – 3:30PMDVC
Thu, Feb 21, 201912:00PM – 2:00PMMartinez Amtrak
Tue, Feb 26, 20197:30AM – 9:30AMSan Ramon Transit Center
Wed, Feb 27, 20197:30AM – 9:30AMPleasant Hill BART
Thu, Feb 28, 20191:00PM – 3:30PMDVC
Fri, Mar 1, 20199:00AM – 1:00PMConcord Senior Center
Thu, Mar 7, 20192:00PM – 4:00PMConcord BART

Subject to change. Check back for updates as additional events are added.

Can’t make it to an outreach event?

Call or email us for questions and to get more information:

Mon-Fri 6:30AM – 6:30PM
925-676-7500
help@countyconnection.com

Service Plan & Fare Proposal Development

In summer of 2017, staff started the process to restructure service throughout Central County in an effort to increase productivity and to modernize the agency’s fare structure. The data-driven process started with a Comprehensive Operations Analysis (COA), a passenger survey, and staff’s interactions with passengers on routes with proposed changes.

FY 2017 Comprehensive Operations Analysis

Staff conducted six public hearings throughout County Connection’s service area in June and July 2018. In response to public comments received, staff adjusted the service proposal in an effort to minimize negative impacts. The final service proposal was approved by the Board in December 2018, and the fare proposal was approved in January 2019.

Final Service Restructure Proposal and Title VI Analysis

Final Fare Structure Proposal and Title VI Fare Equity Analysis

More Information

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CC Innovations – Future Thinking Part 2

In my last blog, I shared highlights about the history of innovation at County Connection. This second entry continues on the theme of innovation at County Connection with a focus on the past ten years, where we have been innovative in our labor contracts, our equipment, and computer-based passenger amenities.

County Connection has three labor unions that together, represent roughly 80% of our workforce, each requiring its own labor contracts. Public sector labor contracts are often full of annual guaranteed wage increases for all members of a bargaining unit that are covered by the contract. Historically, the related contracts have had guaranteed annual wage increases that are typically between 2-4%.

As the 2008/2009 economic recession began to recede in 2010/2011, there was concern at County Connection about including guaranteed wage increases in multi-year labor contracts going forward. This is because in 2008, 2009, and 2010 – while County Connection lost 25% of its revenues – we were contractually bound to give out annual wage increases we could not afford. Generously, all three of our labor unions voluntarily gave up wage increases in many of those years, allowing us to freeze wages for all employees over a three-year period, and helping us to avoid workforce reductions.

This is where we get to the innovation part. As the economy picked up in 2011, County Connection was to negotiate new labor contracts in 2012 and 2013. The Authority (our governing body) was reticent to commit to annual wage increases in new contracts out of concern of another economic turndown. On the other hand, after three years of wage freezes, the employees and their respective unions wanted three year contracts with annual wage increases included. What to do?

We came up with an innovative concept that to this day is rarely seen in the public sector. We call them the economic triggers. In simple summary, these triggers work like this: Should one of our key funding sources drop from year to year, the following year, any wage increase can be permanently withheld. Likewise, if County Connection has to endure a significant increase in fuel costs or in pension costs from year to year, the following year, any wage increase can also be permanently withheld. This allows County Connection a contract-based authority to not give out wage increases in response to unexpected significant economic blows. Again, this is something you rarely see in public sector labor contracts.

Another area of recent innovation was the introduction of Wi Fi capability on all 121 of County Connection’s fixed-route 30- and 40-foot buses. This has been the case now for over six years. Thus, customers of County Connection can be on the Internet while riding transit in central and south Contra Costa County. Moreover, we will be starting in 2018 to replace all the routers on all of our fixed-route buses to move to the next level of router technology. This will make Internet usage on County Connection buses even faster and more reliable.

Also within the last ten years, we have implemented a feature we call Bus Tracker. Bus Tracker uses software to track every County Connection bus at all times. This lets County Connection management better oversee the system for on-time performance and service quality. Even better, not only do we know where every bus is precisely at a given time, but also our customers can similarly track the whereabouts of any bus at any time by accessing our webpage, or on an app via a desktop, laptop, pad, or smartphone. Thus, customers can reduce their wait time by only arriving at a bus stop a few minutes before the bus comes.

The last highlight I want to share is about our state-of-the-art buses. County Connection introduced its first four battery electric buses in late 2016 and by the end of 2018 we will have four more in operation for a total of eight battery electric buses in our fleet. These are the first battery electric buses manufactured by local (Livermore) bus manufacturer Gillig. And, they are the first to be inductively charged while on route.

Inductive charging in the field allows for a bus to be out in service for much longer periods of time than a traditionally charged battery electric bus. Inductive charging also promises to extend battery life – saving County Connection the expenses related to battery replacement.

With the State of California about to mandate the purchase and usage of zero emission-based buses (battery electric or fuel cell powered), finding innovative ways to extend battery life and range is going to be critical in making compliance to this mandate work. County Connection – with its innovative inductive charging – is already doing just that.

These are just a few of the innovative approaches that County Connection has implemented to enhance rider experience and improve how the agency delivers its service. As 2018 comes to a close, we are proud of how these past innovations are helping us to lay the foundation towards adopting new technologies and meeting mobility demands in the future.

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.