Thursday, July 02, 2009

Money for new service

At a time when most transit agencies are cutting service and/or raising fares, the Monterey-Salinas Transit is adding new service next Monday.

The new service is designed to serve the Presidio of Monterey, an active military installation located between Monterey and Pacific Grove. MST is able to provide these new bus lines with funding from the Army. The Army approached MST to provide additional transit service as a way to relieve traffic problems at the Presidio.

The new Presidio service consists of 9 new weekday routes, with one route from San Jose. Most of these routes will run during the morning and afternoon commute hours. The annual cost to provide the new service is over $1 million. Active duty service members and Presidio employees are eligible for free monthly passes for the new service.

All the buses are open to the rest of the public at regular fares, but only military personnel with IDs can ride into the Presidio. Buses however will make a stop in downtown Monterey for other non-military riders.

The new service means MST will run a second line to San Jose. The new line 79 will make a stop at the San Jose Diridon station, the Santa Teresa light rail station, and Gilroy Caltrain station. Because it is designed for commuters coming into Monterey, the bus will leave San Jose earlier and leave Monterey later than the current line 55, which is primarily designed to carry Monterey residents to San Jose. A side benefit to this new line is that it will provide an even earlier trip into San Jose and a late trip leaving San Jose, as buses have to make its way from Monterey to pick up riders.

Currently, the last 55 leaves Monterey at about 3:18pm, which is too early if you want to have an extended day trip in Monterey. For those in Gilroy, this new line will offer a late option from San Jose in case if you miss the last 168, 55, or Caltrain.


Anonymous said...

I spent some time recently at the Defense Language Institute, and I can indeed verify that traffic sucks a lot there. There are actually quite a few language instructors who commute from SJ to Monterey, so this will help out a bit.

Anonymous said...

Hmm... this is interesting. At the time when Caltrain is talking about service reduction and fare hike, we could take the MST buses from San Jose to Gilroy instead of Caltrain, and MST buses have WiFi.


accountablevta said...

Caltrain decided not to cut Gilroy service because it still generates higher fares from the little ridership that they have. Having another bus won't hurt, since it provides a service that Caltrain isn't providing (like a reverse commute service).