Monday, January 14, 2008

The first day of line 181

In 1998, VTA promised a commuter rail connection between East Bay and San Jose. In 2000, VTA decided to kill the commuter rail (to make room for BART) but made another promise to improve express bus service. Today, VTA finally delivered what it promised, eight years late.

Line 181 operates every 15 minutes during weekday peak hours non-stop between Civic Center Light Rail and Mission Blvd at I-680. Meanwhile, Line 180 runs every 15 minutes between Fremont and the Great Mall during peak hours and continues to San Jose at other times.

On an afternoon trip to Fremont, the 181 bus continues on I-880 north of Tasman Drive. The freeway is not congested because of the metering light at the 237 ramp onto I-880. The bus has about 12 passengers onboard.

There is construction at the Mission Blvd off-ramp from I-880. The bus continues on Mission Blvd and then back on I-680 after two stop lights.

Partly due to the bus driver's driving skills, the bus arrives at the BART station nearly 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

On the return trip from Fremont BART with another driver, the 181 bus has an uncongested path on I-680, Mission Blvd, and I-880. The bus runs full speed through Milpitas on the HOV lane. The bus has about 8 passengers onboard.

The bus hits traffic on I-880 south of Montague Expressway. The back up extends all the way beyond 1st Street. The bus driver continues on the left lane and does not change lane until near the 1st Street offramp. Because of the traffic, the bus arrives downtown San Jose 5 minutes past the scheduled times. The next 181 bus, driven by the same driver on the trip to Fremont, arrives San Jose 3 minutes ahead of schedule.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The new route seems a little bit faster - it's nice to bypass the Great Mall.

The Mission cutover to 880 went a little better than expected, possibly because I was riding on an early morning bus. The return ride home yesterday on 880 to Mission was fairly quick as well.