Promotions – County Connection

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.

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

Free Rides on Monument Corridor Routes

Starting July 1, 2022, free rides will be expanded to include weekend Route 311, 314, & 316!

In July 2019, County Connection began offering free rides on three of its weekday bus routes – Routes 11, 14, and 16. Starting July 1, 2022, free rides will be expanded to weekend Routes 311, 314, and 316. All six routes serve the Monument Corridor in Concord 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.

This project is being funded by a grant through California’s Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP), which distributes cap-and-trade proceeds to support a wide range of programs and projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deliver other economic, environmental, and public health benefits for Californians.

Maps & Schedules

Route 11

Concord BART – Oak Grove Rd – Treat Blvd – Pleasant Hill BART
Span of Service: 6:00 am – 8:00 pm
Frequency: 40-90 min

Route 14

Concord BART – Monument Blvd – Pleasant Hill BART – Walnut Creek BART
Span of Service: 5:30 am – 9:30 pm
Frequency: 30 min

Route 16

Concord BART – Monument Blvd – Gregory Ln – Alhambra Ave – Contra Costa Regional Medical Center – Martinez Amtrak
Span of Service: 5:30 am – 10:00 pm
Frequency: 40 min

Route 311

Concord BART – Oak Grove Rd – Treat Blvd – Pleasant Hill BART – Walnut Creek BART
Span of Service: 8:30 am – 8:30 pm
Frequency: 60 min

Route 314

DVC – Contra Costa Blvd – Monument Blvd – Concord BART
Span of Service: 7:00 am – 8:00 pm
Frequency: 30 min

Route 316

Martinez Amtrak – Morello – Arnold – Muir – DVC – Buskirk – Pleasant Hill BART
Span of Service: 7:00 am – 7:30 pm
Frequency: 75 min

Fall Fare Promotions – 2021

County Connection looks forward to welcoming back more passengers this Fall. Additional service restoration will be effective on August 8th, with all school service available for the new school year. Our buses are operating at full capacity and masks continue to be required.

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. We are also offering fare promotions this Fall, including free rides for ALL in September 2021 and free passes for students. Learn more about these programs below.

We want your feedback! Take our survey here!

Free Rides in September

Ride FREE on any route

Everyone rides free on all County Connection routes and LINK paratransit during the entire month of September!

Just hop on any County Connection bus and get where you need to go. Plus, you can also ride free on our fellow East Bay operators (Tri Delta Transit, WestCAT, & Wheels), and get 50% off BART fares when using Clipper in September. We look forward to welcoming you back on transit!

Tip: If you typically use a 31-day pass on Clipper, consider disabling Autoload and avoid activating any new passes during the month of August. We are not be able to issue refunds for partially used passes.

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 in-person learning, 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 October (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

Free Rides on Routes 11, 14, & 16 (Monday-Friday)

Starting Monday, July 1, 2019, all rides on Routes 11, 14, and 16 will be FREE for an entire year!

County Connection is offering free rides on three of its weekday bus routes – Routes 11, 14, and 16 – as part of a one-year pilot program starting on Monday, July 1, 2019. All three routes serve the Monument Corridor in Concord 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.

The pilot project is being funded by a grant through California’s Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP), which distributes cap-and-trade proceeds to support a wide range of programs and projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deliver other economic, environmental, and public health benefits for Californians.

Maps & Schedules

Route 11

Concord BART – Oak Grove Rd – Treat Blvd – Pleasant Hill BART
Span of Service: 6:00 am – 8:00 pm
Frequency: 40-90 min

Route 14

Concord BART – Monument Blvd – Pleasant Hill BART – Walnut Creek BART
Span of Service: 5:30 am – 9:30 pm
Frequency: 30 min

Route 16

Concord BART – Monument Blvd – Gregory Ln – Alhambra Ave – Contra Costa Regional Medical Center – Martinez Amtrak
Span of Service: 5:30 am – 10:00 pm
Frequency: 40 min

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.