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Commuter Shuttles Pilot Program Evaluation Complete

The SFMTA has completed an evaluation of the agency’s Commuter Shuttle Pilot Program and released a report on the program, Oct. 5, 2015.

The findings include that the pilot program reduced conflicts with Muni buses on a per-stop basis and roughly halved the number of locations where shuttle buses were dropping off and picking up passengers compared to before the pilot. You can read the complete report here.

The analysis is part of the 18-month pilot program that began in August 2014 to regulate and better understand the hundreds of commuter shuttles already using the city’s streets. The voluntary program included charging private shuttles to stop in Muni bus zones and shuttle-only loading zones. It also included concentrated enforcement and extensive data collection on the frequency and location of shuttle loadings.

The pilot program is set to expire on Jan. 31, 2016. The SFMTA is working on a proposal for an ongoing program that is expected to be released shortly.

Before 2014, San Francisco did not regulate commuter shuttles. Shuttles operated throughout the city, loading and unloading passengers in a variety of locations, including red Muni zones, vacant curb space or in the street. The lack of rules resulted in confusion and conflicts with other types of transportation.

An SFMTA analysis of shuttle activity both before and during the pilot program found:

  • Shuttles in the permit program had about 17,000 daily boardings on average weekdays, or 8,500 people taking a daily roundtrip from or within San Francisco
  • On a per-stop basis, instances of shuttles blocking Muni decreased by 35 percent during the pilot compared to before
  • 60 percent of the Muni zones analyzed in the pilot had zero conflicts between Muni buses and commuter shuttles.
  • Less than 3 percent of shuttle stop-events resulted in blocked Muni buses
  • The system-wide delay per Muni run (Muni makes over 1,200 runs every weekday) is about four seconds
  • If the shuttles were not an option, nearly half (47 percent) of survey respondents said they would drive alone to work. That would translate to almost 8,000 more one-way car trips a day. That’s more than 2 million one-way car trips a year on what are already congested streets.
  • Only 5 percent of shuttle riders said they would move closer to work if they did not have shuttle access
  • Shuttles remove nearly 4.3 million vehicle miles traveled from the streets each month
  • Total shuttle stops to either pick up or drop off passengers increased 29 percent under the pilot, from 2,302 daily stops to 2,978 daily stops
  • SFMTA enforcement officers issued 1,200 citations to shuttle buses from August 2014 to May 2015 during the pilot, an average of 103 citations a month. Some went to shuttles in the program for parking violations, some to shuttles not in the program for using a zone without authorization
  • The number of shuttle loading locations is 124 – about half the more than 240 locations shuttle operators had sought to use

For more information about the project, go to: sfmta.com/commutershuttles