At its Tuesday, April 29 meeting, the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District (MTD) Board of Directors approved a new service plan for the 2014 fiscal year that addresses schedule adherence and capacity issues within the system. Route & service changes will take effect on Monday, August 25, 2014.
The very popular Lines 1 and 2 will have better schedule adherence and the Crosstown Shuttle during the peak hours will have some service restored that was reduced during budget shortfalls over the past few years. All three of these routes connect the Santa Barbara Westside and Eastside neighborhoods with downtown Santa Barbara. Also planned are enhancements to Line 16, which provides service between the downtown Transit Center and SBCC. Over the past several years, traffic congestion and large passenger loads have impacted schedule adherence on this route. An additional bus during afternoon hours will improve the frequency from every 30 minutes to every 20 minutes and provide improved schedule adherence. Additional service on Line 16 may also reduce passenger loads on Lines 4, 5 and 17, enabling improved performance on those routes as well. Also, Line 22 will be eliminated due to ongoing very low ridership. Line 22 serves the Old Mission, the Museum of Natural History, and the Botanic Garden
Other service changes planned to begin in August include re-routing the Line 15x to travel only along El Colegio Road given its express type service rather than along the narrow side streets within Isla Vista. Line 15x provides service between SBCC and UCSB/Isla Vista. There will also be much-requested additional evening service on this route.
The three new, long-awaited articulated buses are expected to arrive in Fall and be utilized on Lines 12x, 15x and 24x. These 60-foot articulated buses have a 40 percent larger passenger capacity than the standard 40-foot buses, so it is anticipated that there will be fewer incidences of overcrowding and of passengers being left behind.
Complete details about approved route and schedule changes are available on MTD’s website, www.sbmtd.gov.