In response to community requests to shorten trip times, improve connections to regional services, make transit more frequent and faster and to spend funds more cost-effectively, we are proposing the following changes:
Build a frequent grid
A grid of frequent, intersecting transit routes creates a powerful, cohesive network that allows travelers to take direct paths between origins and destinations and creates multiple combinations of ways to get around. Since more routes are frequent, less time is spent waiting for the bus or train to arrive and transfers between frequent routes are short and reliable. The convenience and dependability of a frequent grid unlocks the viability of transit for more people.
Frequent grids create direct connections and multiple ways to get around.
Radial systems converge at a central point, sometimes requiring indirect travel routes.
The Draft Next Network Plan proposes building a network of frequent north/south and east/west routes across the county. New 15-minute or better service is proposed on Mathilda Avenue/De Anza Boulevard, Great America Parkway/Bowers Avenue/Kiely Boulevard and Winchester Boulevard, Tully Road, Taylor Street/Maybury Road and Oakland Road, among others. New east/west routes like Route 20 and Route 21 combine parts of current routes, eliminating transfers and creating true crosstown routes.
Improve regional connections
The Draft Next Network Plan increases the number of routes and frequency of routes that connect to regional services like BART and Caltrain.
Proposed new connections: service by Blue Line, Orange Line, Routes 47, 60, 61, 66, 70, 71, 77, Rapid 500 and Rapid 523.
Proposed new connections: Orange Line, Rapid 500 and Rapid 523
Proposed extension of airport route to Milpitas BART Station and Winchester Transit Center.
Increase frequency on high-ridership routes
The Draft Next Network Plan proposes to increase frequency on high-ridership routes, particularly those that comprise the frequent grid. Routes that account for about 35 percent of weekday boardings will see frequency increases in this plan. To afford the increase in frequency, low-ridership routes or routes with excess capacity would see decreases in frequency or discontinuances of service. These reductions account for about 16 percent of current boardings. Some riders on routes that are discontinued may be able to use other nearby transit routes.
Make routes faster
You wanted transit to travel faster so we are proposing two new rapid routes:
- Rapid 500 would connect Diridon Station in Downtown San Jose with the Berryessa BART Station. This route is designed for speed, taking a direct path and making few stops between Berryessa BART and Downtown San Jose.
- Rapid 523, which is an upgrade and extension of the Limited 323, would travel along Mathilda Avenue, De Anza Boulevard, Stevens Creek Boulevard, San Carlos Street, Santa Clara Street and King Road. Rapid 523 would be a strong connection offering 12-minute or better service to major destinations like the employment areas of Northern Sunnyvale, Downtown Sunnyvale, De Anza College, Stevens Creek corridor, Valley Fair, Santana Row, Downtown San Jose, Alum Rock Avenue, the Mexican Heritage Plaza and the Berryessa BART Station.
Spend funds more cost-effectively
Ridership on VTA buses varies greatly. VTA’s most productive route records 33 boardings per hour on weekdays. Conversely, the least productive route records just 8 boardings per hour on weekdays. It costs VTA $1.98 and $15.16 per rider to carry these passengers, respectively.
One of the consistent comments we heard was to spend public funds more cost-effectively and transfer resources from low-ridership, high-subsidy routes to high-ridership, low-subsidy routes. This way, more rides could be given per dollar spent. Of course, ridership and cost are not the only considerations when designing transit service. VTA gives special consideration to vulnerable populations like students, seniors, the low-income and the disabled. The Draft Next Network Plan generally proposes decreasing service levels on low-ridership, high-subsidy services and reinvesting those resources in high-ridership, low-subsidy services.