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.