Boost connectivity with integrated scheduling

Easy train access from the Sausalito Ferry.

Easy train access from the Sausalito Ferry.

The principal problem with Larkspur Ferry parking is really that it has poor connections to other modes, especially bus. Though there used to be a shuttle system in place, it didn’t do well and was cut years ago. While the Wave has taken a step toward reintroducing the shuttle, Golden Gate Transit has ignored regular bus service from the 29, as well as daytime and weekend trips to and from the ferry.

To help riders get a visual of their options, I’ve created an integrated bus/ferry schedule (PDF) for routes 17, 25, 29, and 228 – all of which serve Larkspur Ferry Terminal at some time or another. The Interurban light rail schedule (PDF) did the same thing with the Sausalito Ferry.

On the weekdays, what stands out to me is the very long connections for people coming from San Francisco. Though the 29 does pretty well for those heading to the ferry during the day – most require waits of only 10-15 minutes – it’s awful for connections from the ferry. Most connections are between 20-30 minutes, a couple leave only a minute to spare, and just a handful are in the sweet spot between 5 and 10 minutes. Optimizing the time points between the bus and ferry could boost ridership all on its own, without any need for new service.

Study the schedule yourself and you’ll see what I mean. And, if you’re a frequent ferry rider, print it out and keep it in your schedule book.

Written by David Edmondson

David Edmondson

David is a native Marinite working in Washington, DC. He writes about how to apply smart-growth and urbanist thinking to the low-density towns of his home.

5 comments to Boost connectivity with integrated scheduling

  • Dave Alden

    Dave, timely post (pun intended). I sit on the Petaluma Transit Advisory Committee. One of our top priorities for the next couple of years is determining how to integrate Petaluma Transit with the SMART train. The SMART station that was to provide much of the dedicated Petaluma SMART parking has been deferred, so schedule integration, allowing folks to use SMART without parking at the station, is essential.

    • If you can get Jarrett Walker out to do planning camp with the nine North Bay agencies and create an integrated network, I’m buying you beers for life.

      • Dave Alden

        David, this touches on a topic that I discussed with Petaluma Transit staff early this week. If we move toward a more regional approach, we get better regional coordination, including scheduling, but lose local problem-solving ability. And that loss would be a shame. Just recently in Petaluma, we’ve implemented creative solutions to local service issues that a regional agency would still be pondering. The challenge is to achieve a better regional approach without losing local flexibility. It’s a knotty problem.

        • My concern is that by keeping up local problem-solving we end up without the kind of integration that would allow people to move around Sonoma and Marin easily by bus. As well, there are probably a whole lot of duplicated or redundant service hours that could be rolled into local service. Ridership might be served less well by Petaluma Transit particularly, but will be better served by the transit system as a whole.

          • David, I appreciate your concern. However, I suggest that the typical bus user in Petaluma today is an abuela heading to a medical appointment, followed by grocery shopping, not a businessman heading to a meeting in Rohnert Park. I’m sure we agree that it’d be best to have maintain good local service while also managing better regional connections. And I believe that there are transit managers trying to achieve exactly that. But I also believe the protecting fiefdoms sometimes interferes.