News Archive

LINK Gives Back

LINK Gives Back

When the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) became law, it meant that all public transit operators were required to provide special service to persons whose disabilities prevent them from using fully accessible public transit. At County Connection we call this ADA service LINK, which offers demand response location-to-location service for seniors and those with disabilities. A person’s ability to use LINK for all or for some of their transit trips is based on an individual’s specific condition(s). You may or may not know that County Connection contracts out the operation and maintenance of our LINK paratransit services to a private transportation company known as First Transit. This includes approximately 50 First Transit employees assigned to work according to a County Connection contract with First Transit. These hard working folks have been doing a great job for us for years. They have consistently maintained an excellent safety record, while providing a high level of customer service.

In addition to the regular work these First Transit employees do for us, many of them are involved in our community in other ways outside of work. While it is springtime at County Connection now, a great example of the dedication First Transit employees have to their community comes from this past holiday season, specifically on Christmas Day. To be sure I get the facts correct, I’m going to share with you what County Connection’s First Transit Site Manager Tim McGowen wrote about this particular event.

“Christmas is a special time when most of us get together with our loved ones. For many people, enjoying Christmas dinner with family and friends is a tradition that goes back through the generations. For some; however, the dinner table may be set for just one.

Christmas for Everyone (CFE) is non-profit volunteer organization with the goal that no one in Contra Costa County should go hungry; be without a present, or be alone on Christmas. CFE has been serving people in need during the Christmas season for the past 30 years! Through the generosity of local businesses, associations, churches, and others in the community, CFE has provided a Christmas experience for about 2,500 people per year.

For the past 15 years, First Transit’s Concord, California location, in collaboration with County Connection, has partnered with Christmas for Everyone to transport Contra Costa County residents for a Christmas celebration that includes dinner, gifts, entertainment, and great fellowship.

First Transit drivers Sonia Craig, Tyree Barnes, and John Higashi volunteered their time this past Christmas Day to transport more than 50 guests to the event. I have to say that it’s incredible to work with such great people. My team really believes in giving back to the community. It truly shows through this project.

CFE Executive Director, Mary Perez acknowledged the work and resources provided by First Transit and County Connection and said, “First Transit and County Connection have been so generous to us in the past, contributing the use of vehicles and amazing drivers who picked up those who cannot drive to CFE. We are blessed to have them as partners on this project.”

As the General Manager for First Transit in Concord, I extend my personal thank you, to our drivers Sonia, Tyree and John, for spreading some heartfelt Christmas cheer to many people who otherwise would have spent time alone on Christmas. This is a great example of the dedication and commitment to the community that our First Transit operators give on a daily basis and it is greatly appreciated. 

I join Tim in acknowledging this volunteer work, and add our appreciation for the work that County Connection LINK drivers do to make better access to our community possible for our LINK customers.

FOR MORE

About LINK: Download an application to assess your eligibility for the County Connection LINK paratransit service.

About Christmas for Everyone: Visit their Facebook page or call 925-228-2233.

Mobility

Mobility Management

Buses, Trains, Pods, Shuttles, Bikes, Pathways, Planes, Autos….It’s All About Mobility!

With the New Year comes resolutions, and one of my resolutions is to return to writing this blog. I am committed in 2018 to more regularly post about County Connection and about the public transportation industry in general.

I believe 2018 will be an exciting year for the public transportation industry. Across the country we are seeing a growing interest in public transportation. But not just any public transportation. The growing interest is in how we can leverage and take advantage of transportation technologies to deliver more sustainable and effective forms of public transportation that not only uses technology where it makes the most sense, but also in ways to best keep pace with our rapidly changing world. I agree we should benefit from technology advances, but we also must make sure that our core mission remains intact. To me, that core mission is providing an opportunity for those who can’t or do not want to drive with a basic level of service to get around.

In fact, I would say that this core mission needs to broaden beyond traditional public transportation. Public transportation should be about providing efficient bus, rail, or paratransit* services, but it also should play a role in ensuring that ALL people in our society have full mobility. Mobility is the ability to be where you need or want to be when you want or need to be there. I would say that mobility is necessary for complete freedom and is necessary for a more fulfilling life.

Mobility is served by walking, bicycle riding, running, driving, sharing rides, buses, trains, boats, planes, phones, the internet, etc. Throughout our history, mobility in all of its forms (even horses!) has been challenged by congestion and pollution. If we do not want congestion or pollution to overtake our mobility, and thus our freedom, we need to continue to find better ways of creating and supplying mobility. This is where the pursuit for autonomous zero-emission vehicles is capturing the imagination of so many people. Ensuring we all have mobility is why public transportation needs to be working hand-in-hand in these innovative areas. As an industry, public transportation will be needed well into the future and it is vital we transition to where the technology is going, not for the sake of the technology itself, but for the sake of optimal mobility through flexible transportation options.

With these transition challenges in front of us, County Connection has put into service four all electric buses and plans to introduce four more into service later this year. While battery-electric propulsion buses are still not developed to the point where they need to be, these eight buses will give County Connection a good foundation to build upon as we pursue electrification in the future.

In addition, early this spring, County Connection will introduce a small pilot project in the Alamo Creek area just east of Danville. This project will test the introduction of shared mobility transportation concepts used in public transportation. In short, we will be using a smartphone app that will allow customers to schedule a curbside pickup using a small County Connection vehicle. This demand response type service will be available within the Alamo Creek defined area to take users back and forth to the Walnut Creek BART Station. Thus, this service will have many of same features as an Uber or Lyft service. As we get closer to implementation of this pilot project, I will dedicate a blog to this topic alone.

These are just two new ways in which County Connection – like many public transit operators across the country – will be adapting, updating, and evolving their services in order to continue to provide mobility to a society that is built around good and accessible mobility options.

* Paratransit is transportation for people with disabilities who are unable to use regular, fixed-route transit services.

Increase in Traffic Congestion on Contra Costa County Freeways

Have you noticed an increase in traffic?

​A recent study​ indicates delays caused by ​congestion increased about 10% from 2015 to 2016.  Going back as far as 2010, congestion has increased by 80%.

​Three major freeways in Contra Costa County made the top 10 worse commutes in 2016​: I-680, Hwy. 24 and Hwy. 4.

Did you know that County Connection has bus service in these areas?

​If you’re traveling along I-680, we offer Express Service to: Bishop Ranch, Walnut Creek BART, Pleasanton Train Station (ACE), Dublin BART and Martinez Amtrak.

In Orinda and Lafayette there is bus service serving Orinda, Lafayette, and Moraga areas, as well as a connecting bus from Lafayette BART to Walnut Creek BART.

The dreaded Highway 4 commute has options as well depending on where you are going.  Many buses start at Amtrak in downtown Martinez, connecting to several BART stations.

With the increase in traffic and no solution to lower congestion, the most affordable way to get around is using County Connection buses.

All County Connection buses are equipped with wheelchair access, free wi-fi, Clipper, and bike racks.  Bus Tracker and Realtime information is also available using your smart phone.

For more information, contact Customer Service at 925-676-7500.  Customer Service is open Monday to Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Real Time Bus Tracker/Mobile App

 

Schedules for 600 Series School Service Is Now Available

Schedules for the 600 series school services have been posted here on the County Connection website, and the printed schedules will be available the first week in August. The times on many of the routes have been adjusted due to either school bell time changes, or to improve on-time performance. Most schools in Central Contra Costa begin in late August.