Joyce has relied on County Connection bus service for over ten years, and has a unique perspective on the transit “community” that extends beyond just getting to know people on the bus. “When you meet your co-workers on the bus, you get to know them in a much different way than if you were driving. On the bus people are people first, and this includes the operators. I can’t say enough about the great job they do – they’re always patient, professional, and safe.”
One of Joyce’s favorite stories involves the CHP. On a particularly busy commute morning, passengers noticed a CHP car alongside the bus signal the operator and start flashing the lights. Of course everyone on the bus was puzzled because the bus wasn’t speeding or driving unsafely. It turns out the officer noticed the bus signaling to change lanes to get into the carpool lanes without much success. The officer helped clear the way for the bus to move to the left lanes. Only bus riders get that special treatment.
Joyce has one wish, and that is that more people take advantage of the wonderful service and enjoy the down time. “You don’t have to live in Europe to have the European lifestyle.”
On a side note, Joyce works in Bishop Ranch and receives the free bus pass provided by Sunset Development. She graciously donated her free monthly pass to the County Department of Child and Family Services. So this month, there are actually two passengers of the month – Joyce and her anonymous recipient. Thank you Joyce and happy riding.
The numbers are finally in. In the month of June County Connection passengers spared the environment of 21,148 pounds of CO2 each weekday. This amount is calculated by multiplying our average weekday ridership for the month by 4 – our average passenger trip length – to determine total miles. This number is reduced by 48% because our research shows that if that bus wasn’t there, not everyone would drive solo. We then use the U.S. EPA figures for average fuel mileage and the amount of CO2 emitted per gallon of fuel (19.4!) to arrive at the final number. Just one person making one trip CAN make a difference big difference.
Curtis describes himself as a “veteran” bus rider. As a teen he used the bus to get to and from school every day, as well as to run other errands. “I learned at a young age that I didn’t have to rely on others to drive me around town. I could get from point A to B independently”.
“Taking the bus as I’ve gotten older has given me the opportunity to read my books and have a less stressful morning commute where I am not worried about parking spots or parking tickets. It makes me glad I’ve stuck with the County Connection service over the years.”
Curtis has gotten to know many drivers over the years, and appreciates the professional job they do. We at County Connection are also appreciative of Curtis’ loyal patronage throughout the years, and will continue to do our best to keep the service working for him.
Tell us why you should be the next Passenger of the Month and be eligible for a free monthly pass.
The past is repeating itself as gas prices increase. In 2008 when gas prices began climbing County Connection saw ridership increase at a steady pace. The same is happening now with gas prices soundly above $4.00 a gallon. Ridership increased by 9% between January 2011 and March 2011 on “commuter” routes – Route 93X Kirker Pass Express, Route 95X Danville/San Ramon Express, Routes 96X and 97X Bishop Ranch Express. These express bus routes travel a longer distance and serve large business centers.
Have you or someone you know thought about leaving the car home just one day a week, but have questions about how to navigate the public bus system? If so, a County Connection bus ambassador may be just the person to get you on your way.
County Connection bus ambassadors are transit users – they ride buses to BART, work, shopping, and to medical and personal appointments. “Learning how to use the buses at first can be very intimidating,” said Denise DeRamo. “For some people, just looking at the schedule is enough to send them in search of their car keys, and that’s where we can help. Ambassadors provide one-on-one peer travel training”.
County Connection staff will match individuals with one of our ambassadors for more personalized training. The ambassador will not only help individuals plan a trip, they’ll arrange to meet and make the trip with them. “Having someone along on a first trip puts people at ease, and once they see how easy it can be, their comfort level rises”.
County Connection ambassadors do more than travel with new bus riders. They can often be spotted at main transportation hubs like BART stations, assisting people who aren’t sure where to go next. When performing their community service, they’ll be visible in a bright yellow vest and have a photo ID displayed. “If I see someone come through the BART gate and immediately start looking around like ‘what now’, I don’t hesitate to go up and introduce myself as a bus ambassador and ask if they need help,” says Wanda Peets. “A lot of the bus operators know me, and point me out to passengers either on the bus or at the stations. It makes me feel good to be doing something useful – for something I feel strongly about.”
Two of the current ambassadors speak both English and Spanish. If you’d like more information or to schedule a training session with one of County Connection’s bus ambassadors, please call County Connection at 676-1976 ext 2066 or 2067.
County Connection’s Annual Food Drive Begins
For two weeks starting Monday, December 6th, County Connection buses will once again become rolling collection points for passengers wishing to donate food to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. The tradition, which began twenty five years ago, brings much needed food to our community.
“Food is such a basic need that we sometimes take for granted,” said Dave Hudson, County Connection’s Board Chairman. “We are happy to continue our tradition of partnering with the Food Bank to help those that have hit hard times and need a helping hand.”
The most needed items are protein sources like peanut butter and canned meats. All canned goods, beans, rice, pastas, iron rich cereal, tomato products, and fruit or 100% fruit juice are accepted. Food Bank officials have asked that no glass containers be donated as they can easily break during transportation and sorting.
Use public transit and help “spare the air”.
On Wednesday, July 7th Rex was at the bus stop in front of El Dorado Middle School hanging out with the Concord High summer school students waiting to catch the route 15. He gave out ten free Summer Youth Passes. I think he made some new friends too.
Rex was spotted at College Park High School on Friday on route 18, with a brief stop at the bus stop on Contra Costa Blvd. Hey Rex, how was summer school? Ten free Summer Youth passes were given out. Where will he pop up next?
Rex was spotted on Route 20 at Sunvalley Mall on Friday and again at Concord BART on Route 10. Five Summer Youth Passes were given out free! Where will he be next?
County Connection staff will be boarding random bus lines with mascot, Mr. Safe T. Rex, to promote their “Ride, Rex, Ride” program. The first person to spot Rex with his travel companion wins a Summer Youth Pass. Updates on Rex’s travels will be posted here and on County Connection’s (Central Contra Costa Transit Authority) Facebook page. The Summer Youth 20-Ride Pass continues to sell for $15, keeping fares down to as little as 75 cents a ride and $25 less than cash fares. Passes can be used for multiple individual trips or for single use with a large group. They are good on all County Connection fixed-route buses. Buses stop at BART, Amtrak, malls, and theaters. The pass is valid until September 30th so parents can have a break on transportation costs when kids return to school in the fall. SY Passes can be purchased through the mail, at most of the agency’s sales outlets throughout the service area, or online. For more information about this program, call the customer service center at 676-7500.
Alhambra High School Art and CAD students worked collectively to design a new bus wrap for one of The County Connection’s 40-foot buses. The new bus wrap has a different design on each side and back, sporting environmentally friendly messages.
At the unveiling, all students from the two art classes, the CAD class, and the artists whose designs were chosen, were on hand to sign the front of the bus. Martinez Mayor Rob Schroder, who is also chair of The County Connection Board of Directors, awarded the certificates to the finalists Adrianna Mendoza, Gabriela Carniglia, and Samantha Huntley.
“This is a kick-off a program. We hope to have many more the high schools in our service area compete to design next year’s bus wrap,” said Mary Burdick, Manager of Marketing & Public Relations. “It’s a great opportunity for aspiring artists to have their work on display, while spreading an environmental message.”
Thank You to Alhambra High School’s Art and CAD classes, and special thanks to Jeff Smith, CAD Class Instructor, and Denise Fuller, Art Instructor.
(Click for larger view)
Submitted by Adrianna Mendoza
Submitted by Gabriella Carniglia
Submitted by Samantha Huntley
All three winning designs on the Bus
Submitted by Jamie Higgins
Submitted by Jana Marzi
Submitted by Ratidzo Venton
Submitted by Samantha Decker
Submitted by Vanessa Boland
Special Thanks to the CAD Students who participated:
- Brian Jenkins
- Kevin Landsborough
- Jordan Dunn
- Domenic Villanveva
- Michael Hope-Creedon
- Priyang Patel
- Daniel Nilson
- Beau Krummen
- Nate Holben
- Evan Robnett
- Taylor Smythe
- Michael Donnelly
CAD Students at Work