The Valley Transportation Authority will increase the frequency of seven key bus routes—including the 68 line that makes dozens of stops in South County—as of Feb. 8.
Due to the resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic this fall, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department reinstated public gathering restrictions, forcing the VTA to pause the implementation of its original 2021 Transit Service Plan. But that plan is now slated to go into effect in February.
The increased service frequency on the affected routes—including bus routes 23, 25, 64, 66, 68, 71 and 77—will help relieve some of the impact to passengers, says a press release from VTA.
Of these, the route 68 changes are expected to have the biggest impact on South County residents and commuters. As of Feb. 8, the route 68 bus will run every 15 minutes on weekdays, and every 20 minutes on Saturdays and Sundays, according to the VTA website. The 68 bus goes from the Gilroy Transit Center to San Jose Diridon station, with numerous stops in between.
The changes also respond to the two most requested items identified in VTA’s recent customer survey: more frequent service and real-time passenger data. The latter can be found by passengers who sign up to receive service alerts via the Transit app, which also provides real-time crowding information, VTA said.
The VTA customer survey, taken from October to November, yielded responses from more than 1,600 people in six different languages.
VTA service planners and operations teams are working through all the logistics to implement these changes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of transit service, the press release said. Since all schedules are interconnected and changes will be experienced systemwide, the February service update will coincide with an upcoming operator bid for work shifts.
“These service frequency changes will maximize available resources and provide safe and effective transit service while still adhering to the current social distancing restrictions implemented by the County Public Health Department,” says the press release from VTA.
Under the current stay-at-home orders, riders are being asked to help alleviate the limited capacity on buses by keeping travel to essential trips only. VTA reminds all riders to please remember to wear a mask and maintain social distancing.