By Andrew M., Youth Ambassador representing South San Mateo County @samtransyouth

Youth Ambassadors and friends posing inside SamTrans South Base Maintenance Building.

Hello and Happy New Year from the SamTrans Youth Ambassadors! We’ve  had an exciting start to 2019 with a few of our ambassadors participating in a special field trip to SamTrans’ South Base Bus Maintenance Facility, located in San Carlos. The tour of the base included a look at the maintenance garage, the storage and parts room, and the operations building.

The 13-acre South Base, which opened in 1984, can store about 150 buses. The site also includes a refueling station, a bus wash facility and 14 maintenance bays. As we stepped inside the large maintenance garage, we noticed one of the 60-foot articulated buses had been lifted in the air, allowing workers to inspect the underside of the bus. Another set of workers were replacing a windshield on another bus. Steven Baggetta, Assistant Superintendent of Bus Maintenance, commented that there isn’t one particular repair that comes up most often, but that his team is well-equipped to solve whatever issues arise.

Staff explaining day-to-day operations at SamTrans South Base.

Later on in the tour, Steven explained the daily routine at South Base. Buses begin coming in from their afternoon and evening runs around 5 p.m., and they line up outside while the maintenance crew inspects them for damage, evaluates whether they need repairs, and cleans the bus interiors. The crew works all night so that the fleet is ready for the first morning runs, which generally begins around 5 a.m. the next morning.

To conclude our tour, we stopped at the operations building, which also functions as the bus drivers’ break room. Inside, giant boards list the schedule and route of each bus driver for the day.

The South Base tour gave us a fascinating perspective on what goes on behind-the-scenes to help SamTrans run smoothly. Though most riders only think of SamTrans as the bus that gets them around San Mateo County, the journey wouldn’t be possible without the dedicated maintenance crew, well-organized operations team and safe bus operators that SamTrans employs.

At our monthly meetings, the Youth Ambassadors have been brainstorming ways to increase youth ridership on SamTrans. Later this spring, we may be hosting tables at different schools to spread the word about the convenience of riding SamTrans to get around. We will keep you updated!

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