Making Headway

MAKING HEADWAY: The Santa Barbara City Council approved reducing the wait time for cross-town and uptown buses to 10 minutes during peak hours as part of an effort to attract new riders and boost convenience for those who already depend on buses. Currently, lines 1 and 2 – which connect the Eastside to the Westside via the Transit Center – are available every 15 minutes, while lines 6 and 11, which connect UCSB to downtown Santa Barbara, run every 30 minutes. Also, line 3, which travels from downtown to Cottage Hospital and upper State Street, will reduce its headways from 30 minutes to 20 minutes all day long. The Metropolitan Transit District staff estimated that more frequent buses will increase ridership by 276,400 in the first year. It will also prevent buses from getting so full they are unable to pick up new passengers, as happened 137 times last year, according to MTD head Sheri Fischer. The improved service will be funded partly by allocating money currently dedicated to the underused My Ride program, which provides unlimited bus passes free of charge to downtown workers. About $2 million for the increased bus service will come out of road maintenance funds.

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