By Alex Eisenhart | @AlexOnTransit

SamTrans launched weekday Express Bus service between Foster City and San Francisco on the new Route FCX this month. To celebrate the new service, the route is operating free of charge for the first two weeks through August 30.

On the morning of launch, SamTrans staff and members of the agency’s Board of Directors, as well as Foster City Mayor Sam Hindi, were onboard to welcome riders, offer giveaways and answer questions about the new route.

The agency estimated that each bus departing Foster City during the morning commute would have an average of 20 riders per bus. However, launch day saw anywhere from 20 to over 50 riders on each bus, with the last two departures arriving into San Francisco with standing room only. After several days of consistently high ridership, SamTrans added larger articulated buses to the route in order to accommodate the high demand for the FCX.  

 “The launch of express bus service is an important step in addressing San Mateo County’s traffic congestion, particularly in Foster City which is essentially land-locked,” said Carole Groom, Chair of the SamTrans Board. “Route FCX creates a critical connection between two major employment and residential hubs that currently lack a convenient alternative to driving a car.”

The route was made possible by funds from Measure W, the countywide half-cent sales tax passed by county voters in November 2018. The route reflects goals put forth in the SamTrans Business Plan, including the expansion and innovation of transit services to meet the needs of an ever-changing community. Route FCX is one of six new Express Bus routes being rolled out over the next five years as a result of the US-101 Express Bus Study.

This new service comes as the SamTrans Board voted to approve fare changes, effective January 2020, including the introduction of a $4.50 adult single-ride Express Bus fare and the elimination of the agency’s “out-of-San Francisco” surcharge for local service routes, which will make understanding and paying fares aboard express bus routes simpler for riders.

Upon completion of San Mateo County’s US-101 Express Lane Project in 2022, express bus riders will have access to the newly constructed lanes for improved reliability and travel time.

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