News – County Connection

News Archive

Public Hearing: Weekend Monument Free Expansion

Notice of Public Hearing

The Central Contra Costa Transit Authority (County Connection) will hold a public hearing to gather comment on the proposed continuation of a pilot program offering free rides on weekend Routes 311, 314, and 316, as long as funding remains available for the program through the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP) or another similar funding source. This is an expansion of the existing Monument Free Program providing free fares on corresponding weekday Routes 11, 14, and 16. These routes serve low-income communities along the Monument Corridor and connect from Concord BART to various destinations in Martinez, Pleasant Hill, and Walnut Creek, including BART stations, Martinez Amtrak and Contra Costa Regional Medical Center.

Comments can be submitted in writing via mail, email, or online, or at the scheduled public hearing. Written comments must be received by December 7, 2022.

How to Comment

It is anticipated that the Board of Directors will take action on the proposed fare program at their regular meeting scheduled for December 15, 2022, following the public hearing.

Public Hearing: 2023-2028 Short Range Transit Plan

Notice of Public Hearing

The Central Contra Costa Transit Authority (County Connection) will hold a public hearing to gather comments on the draft Short Range Transit Plan (SRTP) covering fiscal years 2023-2028.

About the SRTP

The SRTP is County Connection’s operations and financial planning document. In order to effectively execute planning and programming responsibilities, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) requires each transit operator receiving federal funding through the Regional Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) to prepare, adopt, and submit an SRTP to MTC every four years in order to remain eligible to receive federal funding.

County Connection’s last Full SRTP was completed in 2016 and the current effort will result in an updated SRTP covering FY2023 through FY2028. Revised guidelines were established as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and narrow the scope to a five-year planning horizon with a focus on financial and service planning.

The plan focuses on evaluating existing service and developing future service plans based on three scenarios of varying revenue recovery over the next 5 years. The operating budget assumed for each scenario is based on the level of federal stimulus available, recovery of revenue from other sources, and ridership recovery. The service plans are aimed to align resources available in each of the scenarios with ridership demand as well as feedback received from the passenger survey conducted during September 2022.

Review the draft plan here:

How to Comment

Comments can be submitted in writing via mail, email, or online, or at the scheduled Public Hearing. Written comments must be received by December 7, 2022.

It is anticipated that the Board of Directors will take action on the draft SRTP at their regular meeting scheduled for December 15, 2022, following the public hearing.

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.

Passenger Survey

County Connection is conducting a survey through the month of September to find out more about your transit needs and rider experience.

Over the next few weeks, passengers on our routes may be asked to complete a quick survey to help us understand how our services are being used and where we can improve.

You can also fill out the survey online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/cccta2022. Even if you’re not currently riding transit, we encourage you to complete the survey to help us plan for the future.

All responses are confidential. We appreciate your participation and input!

Administrative Offices to Reopen to Public Starting Tuesday, 9/6

County Connection’s administrative offices, including the LINK Paratransit office, will reopen to the public starting Tuesday, September 6, 2022. Our offices will be open Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Masks are currently required while inside our offices.

Our Customer Service call center continues to be staffed during regular hours (Monday – Friday, 6:30 AM to 6:30 PM) and can be reached by phone at (925) 676-7500 or email at help@countyconnection.com.

We will also be continuing our mobile lobby and outreach events. Click here for a schedule of dates and locations.

Wheels and County Connection Consolidate Paratransit Services

Innovative approach for ADA qualified riders eliminates need for transfers.

LIVERMORE, CA – CONCORD, CA The Boards of Directors of the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (Wheels) and the Central Contra Costa County Transit Authority (County Connection) have approved the consolidation of paratransit services previously operated independently by the two transit systems.  The innovative approach of this partnership will help increase agency productivity, improve service delivery, and enhance the customer experience, as evidenced by a recent customer satisfaction survey.  This agreement follows a successful pilot project to test the concept, called One-Seat Ride, which features regional collaboration between Wheels, County Connection, WestCat, and Tri-Delta Transit that was designed to address essential paratransit interagency travel during COVID-19 that took riders, within the four participating agencies’ areas of service, to their final destination with no transfers.

“This new partnership with County Connection goes way beyond the One-Seat concept,” said Alameda County Supervisor and LAVTA Board Chair David Haubert. “The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) required cities to provide paratransit service for residents with disabilities, but provided no operating funds.  The consolidation of Wheels and County Connection paratransit services allows the agencies to more efficiently spend transportation funding dollars by sharing resources, while providing vital services to those riders unable to use a fixed-route service due to disabilities.”

Riders eligible for paratransit services under ADA will find using the newly consolidated Wheels and County Connection services streamlined by the availability of a smartphone app to make the transit network more accessible and allows passengers access to real-time information to track their ride, receive status notifications, cancel, and rate their ride.  Currently booking a paratransit trip remains through phone reservation systems, however, coming this winter, riders will be able to book trips online through the mobile app as well.

“As the population ages, more and more people rely on paratransit to get around,” said City of San Ramon Mayor and County Connection Board Chair Dave Hudson. “With the growing need, we have to be smart about how we provide these services. This paratransit consolidation enables Wheels and County Connection to offer better access to transportation, especially to destinations that cross the boundaries of the two agencies without riders having to get out of their seat to transfer between rides saving time and enhancing safety.”

The new consolidation of paratransit services is seamless to riders. Eligible people for paratransit services under the ADA, those unable to use regular buses and trains due to a disability or disabling health condition, can make reservations 1 to 7 days in advance through County Connection LINK (925) 938-RIDE (938-7433) and Wheels Dial-A-Ride: (925) 455-7510.  Rides are door-to-door and the costs to use the paratransit services are calculated by the reservationist at the time of booking.  One-Seat Rides will continue to be available through the (925) 680-2134 reservation line.

###

About County Connection

County Connection operates fixed-route and paratransit bus service throughout the communities of Concord, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Walnut Creek, Clayton, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Danville, San Ramon, as well as unincorporated communities in Central Contra Costa County. In 2022, County Connection received the Outstanding Paratransit Program Award from the California Association for Coordinated Transportation (CalACT).

For more information, visit countyconnection.com or call Customer Service at (925) 676-7500.

About the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority

The Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA) was created in 1985 by the cities of Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton and Alameda County to serve area transit needs. In 2018 and 2019, LAVTA was named Transit Agency of the Year by the California Transit Association and the California Association for Coordinated Transportation, respectively. In 2020, LAVTA was named the top transit agency of its size in North America by the American Public Transportation Association.

LAVTA supports environmental sustainability by reducing vehicle trips and traffic congestion on local streets and improving air quality in the Tri-Valley region. In addition to passenger fares, the agency is supported financially by federal, state and local agencies, including the Alameda County Transportation Commission’s Measure B and BB.

Follow LAVTA on Facebook at facebook.com/wheelsbus and on Twitter @wheelsbus or visit our website wheelsbus.com for more information on Wheels and Rapid bus services, our Dial-A-Ride paratransit service as well as our Go Tri-Valley promotion with Uber and Lyft.

Fall Fare Promotions – 2022

County Connection looks forward to welcoming back more passengers this Fall. Click here for 600-series school route schedules for the 2022/2023 school year. Our buses are operating at full capacity and masks are strongly recommended.

We encourage all of our passengers to learn about our various discounted Clipper programs, including our day pass, youth fare, and Clipper START for low income adults. Learn more about these programs below.

Pass2Class

Take County Connection to school FREE

Skip the traffic and save gas while getting your students to school. With 511 Contra Costa’s Pass2Class program, it’s easy to make the switch. To help students return to school, we’re giving free rides for two months.

Students who are registered in a public or private school (grades 1-12) located in Central or Southwest Contra Costa can receive a County Connection pass that is valid through September (up to 2 per household and while supplies last).

Youth Clipper Discount

Youth (ages 6-18) get 20% off when using a Youth Clipper card

Youth ages 6-18 automatically get 20% off the adult Clipper fare when using a Youth Clipper card on County Connection.

Riders can apply for a Youth Clipper card by submitting an application via mail, email, or fax along with proof-of-age documentation. Once approved, a card will be sent by mail. To obtain a card immediately, call us at (925) 676-7500 to arrange an in-person visit.

Tip: Now you can transfer your existing plastic Youth Clipper card to your phone and pay fares with your mobile wallet! Click here to learn more about paying your fares with a smartphone. Please note that you must apply for and obtain a plastic Youth Clipper card first before transferring it to your phone.

Clipper START Discount

Eligible riders can get discounts on County Connection, BART, & more

Clipper START is a pilot program to provide fare discounts to eligible riders. Participants can receive a 20% discount off County Connection single-ride Clipper fares, plus discounts on BART, Tri Delta Transit, WestCAT, Wheels, and more!

To qualify, you must:

  • Be a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area  
  • Be 19-64 years old  
  • Not have an RTC Clipper Card for people with disabilities   
  • Have a household income of 200% of the federal poverty level or less