Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Leaving the Holding Pattern

It's been quiet around here lately, mostly because it's been quiet in local transport policy. This blog began during a time of massive service cuts, attacks on Greyhound, and other myrid threats to local alternative transportation. Since then, I've been able to report moderately good news in the cycling department, as Riverside's city government has become more bicycle-aware. (I'm not going to call them bicycle-friendly just yet, although the League of American Bicyclists did.) I haven't, however, had too much in the way of good news about local transit. The best one could say is that it had stabilized.

Well, recently, things have started getting better. We've already seen mild improvements to frequency (to 15m on Route 1 and 20 on Route 16) and service span during last October's service changes. With RTA's upcoming May service changes, there are still more (mild) improvements on the way. Let's take a look!

Route 1: Route 1 will see a small routing change with a big impact: in Corona, the route will finally make the couple-block jaunt over to the Corona Transit Center, bringing the RTA's 800lb gorilla into contact with Corona Cruiser's Red and Blue routes, RTA's 3, several Commuterlink routes, and, of course, Metrolink. (And the gratuitous sea of parking lots that surround the Transit Center, precluding the nice transit-oriented development that should happen there...)

Route 3: The northbound Corona-Eastvale route will see a minor span increase, as well as new Saturday service.

Route 54: Did anyone ever actually ride this? I didn't. This was a shuttle from the Metrolink overflow parking lot to the County building, while the County's parking was taken over by the 91 widening project's detritus. Anyway, it's going away because the County's parking lots are open again.

Routes 64 & 79: These long-haul routes in the southwest county will be adding (low-frequency: 75 and 60 minute headways, respectively) Saturday service. The Transit Coalition's IE Transit Talking Points blog has better analysis on these routes, but suffice to say they will bring better regional connectivity to the southwest county on weekends.

Route 216: Holy hell, this one has been needed for a long time. A mid-day trip and a late evening trip will be added to the OC-Riverside express route, making it useful for trips other than peak-hour commutes. Metrolink IE-OC mid-day and evening frequencies still suck, so this is very welcome.

CommuterLink Expansion: With the promised addition of several 91 Line trains, RTA will be adding trips to 206, 208, 210, and 212. These trips start when the new trains do, a date currently to be determined.

RTA is accepting comments about the new service changes, but honestly, my only comments are "Yay!" You can contribute comments at (951) 565-5002, comments@riversidetransit.com,  or at the next RTA Board Meeting, 27 March at 2pm in the County building downtown.