County Connection Sees Increase in Ridership

Agency’s service and route changes realize results.

CONCORD, CA – County Connection is showing an increase in ridership in year-over-year comparisons, especially on routes where bus frequency has increased. Last spring the agency announced significant service and route changes that included increasing peak service frequency, discontinuing routes, adding extensions, and making minor adjustments. Since the changes in March 2019, although revenue hours have not increased, ridership is growing and was nearly 11% higher in November 2019, when compared to the same month last year.

“Any significant change in service will generally take a year or two for people to utilize it to its potential,” said Rick Ramacier, County Connection General Manager. “However, based on what we know about the response to the service changes so far, we are pleased.”

County Connection is showing signs of being ahead of the national curve on transit ridership increases. Nationally transit ridership reports did show declines through 2018, but of late numbers have stabilized and are on an upswing. According to the quarterly “Transit Ridership Report” released by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), nationally ridership increased in 2019 by 2.20% when compared to the third quarter of 2018.

Primary contributors to County Connection’s ridership increase includes:

  • Comprehensive Operational Analysis of all County Connection services, which incorporated community needs outreach, rider input, and anticipated future public transit demands.
  • Major service changes implemented in March 2019 that included cuts, adjustments, and enhancements throughout the service area.
  • New weekend route 335 launched to serve the San Ramon Transit Center, Bollinger Canyon Rd, Dougherty Rd, and Dublin/Pleasanton BART on Saturdays and Sundays
  • Major schedule and routing changes to routes serving Bishop Ranch (Routes 92X, 95X, 96X, and 97X) featuring 10 min peak frequency from Walnut Creek to Bishop Ranch.
  • Free rides on three weekday bus routes – Routes 11, 14, and 16 – as part of a one-year pilot program that began on July 1, 2019.
  • Rider amenities like free Wi-Fi aboard County Connection buses.

“County Connection is more customer-focused to meet the needs of today’s riders and the significant improvements to our services means reduced roadway congestion from individual cars and more mobility options for those that need it,” said Candace Andersen, County Connection Board Chair. “We are encouraged by the direction our ridership numbers are going, knowing that we can connect more of the region’s residents to work, education, medical appointments, and other destinations that help people go about their daily lives. These early results prove riders are discovering how convenient riding public transit can be.”

System wide County Connection provides more than 12,000 daily rides throughout its service network. All County Connection riders can get real-time arrival information and track bus locations by downloading the Transit app, available for iPhone and Android phones, or by visiting countyconnection.com.

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. For assistance or for more information on bus routes, please visit countyconnection.com or call Customer Service at (925) 676-7500.