Golden Gate Bridge, Highway & Transportation District

Golden Gate Transit Timeline

June 1970: The Golden Gate Transit (GGT) operating division began with two employees: H. Donald White was hired as the first GGT manager and Kathleen Connell was the first administrative staff hired. Later that summer, Jerome Kuykendall was the first hire brought over from the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District engineering department as Transit Planner, Brooks Rice was brought on as the first Maintenance Supervisor, and Bob Brower was hired as the first Transportation Supervisor.

August 15, 1970: A private bus contractor, Marin Transit Systems, Inc., under the leadership of Ted Barron (1933 to 2007), operated the Sausalito Ferry feeder shuttle service under a contract with Marin County Transit District (MCTD) that GGT had oversight of as well. GGT took over the operation of the ferry feeder service under contract with MCTD on December 15, 1971, as noted below.

1970 and 1971: GGT staff was focused was on the planning and development of the GGT bus system which included extensive public outreach (21 public hearings in the US Hwy 101 corridor), route planning, and design and specification of the bus fleet.

October 1971: GGT staff and operations moved into a leased warehouse on Jacoby St, San Rafael, CA.

Monday, November 22, 1971 - Thursday, December 9, 1971: The first of 30 Greyhound drivers were hired by GGT; Wayne Black was the first of the Greyhound “Dirty 30” drivers hired on November 22, 1971.

December 15, 1971: According to the GGBHTD September 1975 report to the California Legislature, GGT began operating Marin Local bus Service, under contract to MCTD, consisting of three routes— Sausalito Ferry feeder shuttle service, a route operating in central and northern Marin, and a ferry feeder shuttle service to the ferry port in Tiburon.

January 1, 1972: GGT transbay basic service started. GGT began bus service with 152 coaches, with 20 leased from Greyhound Lines and 132 GMC “new look” model coaches that were purchased by GGT.

January 2, 1972: Greyhound Lines service ceased at midnight.

January 3, 1972: GGT transbay commute service started.

By August 1972: With Urban Mass Transit Administration (UMTA, now FTA) grants providing funding to acquire more buses, GGT was operating 175 buses.

By early 1973: With additional buses purchased, and after the return of the 20 leased buses to Greyhound Lines, the GGT bus fleet consisted of 188 new coaches, all with customer amenities including reclining seats, reading lamps, and overhead luggage racks.

December 1974: The first-ever special holiday bus, decorated by bus maintenance staff, hit the road, starting an annual tradition that continued for 28 years through 2002.

January 31, 1975: San Rafael Bus Facility at 1011 Andersen Drive was completed. In 1987, the facility was expanded to include a heavy duty maintenance shop, and additions were made to the body shop, fuel island, and original maintenance building.

June 1975: Santa Rosa Bus Facility, located at 3225 Industrial Drive, was completed.

February 1976: Operations began out of the newly constructed Novato Bus Facility.

1979: The GGBHTD Advisory Committee on Accessibility was formed to provide input to GGT and GGF staff on issues pertaining to seniors and persons with disabilities.

1982: Special bus service to San Francisco 49ers football games at Candlestick Park started. This service ended in 2009.

January 1, 1982: 10th anniversary of GGT; 104 of the original 180 drivers employed by GGT were still employed by the GGBHTD.

1985: Free Ferry Shuttle Bus Service, Routes 67 and 69, began operating between the Golden Gate San Francisco Ferry Terminal and San Francisco employment centers during morning and evening commute hours. This service was discontinued in (year is being researched).

1989: A Bus Passengers Advisory Committee was formed to assist the District in maintaining attractive and effective bus services. The committee is comprised of a wide range of bus passengers from throughout the service area.

October 1989: After the October 17, 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, which closed the Oakland San Francisco Bay Bridge, transbay bus ridership increased by as much as 8 percent during the month following the quake.

November 3, 1989: A new Santa Rosa Bus Facility and Terminal Building was completed, consisting of a single story building with a passenger waiting area, drivers’ lounge, baggage area, ticket sales area, equipment room, dispatch office, restrooms, and additional office space.

November 9, 1990: The groundbreaking ceremony for the San Rafael Transit Center was held.

1991: Commute service between Sonoma and Marin counties began as a means to assist in relieving congestion in the US Highway/101 Corridor.

1992: The C. Paul Bettini San Rafael Transit Center received the Ted Van Midde Memorial Master Award from the Northern California Concrete Association.

January 12, 1992: The newly constructed C. Paul Bettini San Rafael Transit Center (SRTC) opened.

January 24, 1992: The SRTC official grand opening took place and was celebrated along with the GGT 20th anniversary celebration for GGT. The transit center was constructed to consolidate transit passenger activities and intermodal connections among regional and local transit, paratransit, intercity bus, airport bus and taxi services. Dedicated in honor of the popular former mayor of San Rafael and District Director, the new transit center improved the safety and convenience of passengers and reduced traffic and other impacts associated with curbside boarding activities.

1993: GGT increased the number of bicycle racks located at bus stops.

March 7, 1993: Route 40 started, linking Marin County with the East Bay across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. The route continues today, supported by funding from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

February 1993: GGT’s 1st Whale Bus “Pollution Solution,” created by international artist George Sumner, went into service. The bus was dubbed “Humphrey the Whale Bus,” in honor of Humphrey, the humpback whale that errantly entered San Francisco Bay and became well known on national television for his misadventures in the Bay in 1985 and again in 1990.

1994: GGT ordered 41 buses made by Flxible, increasing seating capacity from 39 to 45 passengers and providing wheelchair access as well.

March 1995: GGT operated a 45-foot-long, 57-passenger “loaner” coach from MCI as a prototype to test in service on various routes throughout the service area.

1996: GGT allowed advertising on the side of buses for the first time. Up to this point, ads were only allowed on the back of buses.

January 1996: Board approved the purchase 30 new MCI coaches which are 5 feet longer than the rest of the fleet and carry 57 passengers – more than the other coaches in the fleet. The buses went into service on March 3, 1997.

May 1996: GGBHTD website was launched at www.goldengate.org.

January 1, 1997: GGT’s 25th anniversary.

October 1997: GGT began receiving its 30 new 40-foot-long NovaBus coaches.

1999: Two-postion bike racks were added to the front exterior of all 40-foot-long buses.

December 2001: GGT began soft-launch testing of the new regional smart card fare media called TransLink (now called Clipper).

2002: GGT introduces e-blast alert system for customers to sign-up for service alert emails.

2003: The Bay Area-wide telephone and website for all transportation information was established as 511 phone (711 for TDD) and www.511.org.

Fall 2003: GGT launches new exterior look for new buses added to the fleet with the new logo that includes the image of the GGB.

November 2, 2003: GGT bus service reductions resulted in an entirely restructured bus service deployment.

2005: 2nd Whale Bus painted by George Sumner – “A Ride for the Environment.”

2005: For the first time, on the first five Spare the Air Days, free transit rides were provided and funded by the MTC and BAAQMD.

May 28, 2005: First season of Muir Woods shuttle Route 66; the service was free during the first season and was sponsored by Marin County, GGNRA, and GGT.

October 2006: Underbelly bike racks were added to all 45-foot-ling MCI coaches as these coaches are too long for exterior front mounted racks.

Summer 2006: For the second season, free transit rides were offered on the first three Spare the Air Days. A GGT bus was transformed into a fully wrapped Spare the Air bus for the summer. The MTC and BAAQMD funded the free transit days.

March 16, 2009: New fareboxes went live on the entire bus fleet following a weekend of long hours in the maintenance shop where the installation was completed.

June 15, 2009: New express Route 101 launched.

July 2009: 3-postion bike racks were added to the front exterior of all 40-foot-long buses.

May 30, 2012: A grand opening ceremony is held at the newly relocated Customer Service Center at the San Rafael Transit Center. District Board President Janet Reilly, General Manager Denis Mulligan, and Marin County Supervisor Steve Kinsey speak at the event.

August 1, 2012: A collectible, limited edition Clipper® Card was developed in partnership with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and released for public purchase as a tribute to the Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary on May 27, 2012.

April 18, 2013: A new third-generation zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell bus began providing service on select Marin Transit Local Routes and Golden Gate Transit Routes. Part of the Zero Emission Bay Area (ZEBA) program, this bus made the Bay Area home to the largest single fleet of fuel cell buses in the United States.

April 19, 2013: A project to install new bikes racks at the San Rafael Transit Center was completed. In addition to new bike racks, the work included installation of map cases, informational kiosks, and signposts.

August-October 2013: America's Cup fans rode Golden Gate Ferry and added Golden Gate Transit services to San Francisco to watch the United States bring home the America's Cup. The two waterfront venues—the America's Cup Village at Marina Green and the America's Cup Park at Piers 27 and 29—were the perfect settings to experience this oldest international sporting event.

August 2013: The District developed a new look for its See Something? Say Something! public awareness program. Posters were created for each of the District's operating divisions as an ongoing enhancement to existing safety and security measures. See Something? Say Something! is a simple reminder to customers to report suspicious or atypical persons or things encountered while traveling on a bus or ferry or across the Bridge. The posters—displayed throughout District facilities, at bus stops and transit terminals, and in various Bridge locations—encourage customers to join the District employees as the "eyes and ears" of their transportation environment to aid in maintaining a safe environment for everyone. This campaign won a First Place APTA (Amercian Public Transportation Association) AdWheel Award!

September 2013: A free Golden Gate Transit shuttle to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal—dubbed "The Wave" in beautifully branded buses—was introduced as a 9-month demonstration project to help alleviate a parking shortage in the Terminal parking lot. Ferry riders coming from the Ross valley communities of Fairfax, San Anselmo, Ross, Kentfield, and Greenbrae could leave their cars at home and enjoy a complimentary, hassle-free bus ride directly to the Terminal. The service was made permanent in June 2014, based on strong ridership.

Fall 2013: Marin Transit, in partnership with GGT, replace bus stop signs throughout Marin County. The new signs include route number, destination, operational informatoin for local routes, and a bus stop ID number so customers can call 511 for schedule information.

February 2014: Golden Gate Transit moved its San Francisco bus facility to a permanent location at Third and Perry streets. Nearly a decade in the making, including getting environmental clearances and coordinating with neighborhood groups, the move established a long-term midday storage facility with a lease that provides for up to 35 years in the same location. The move also lowered annual lease fees by an estimated $700,000.

May 2014: The District rolled out a new campaign aimed at increasing safety awareness among employees and customers. these colorful posters are reminders to stay safe by being alert and aware of their surroundings. Keep each other safe—Together we are Golden!

June 2014: GGT offered riders a change of pace with new all-day bus service between Marin and San Francisco on Routes 4 and 27. Great for students, flex workers, and residents hoping to catch a bus to the City for shopping, dining, or an event, both routes serve popular San Francisco destinations like the new Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center, the Presidio, Ghirardelli Square, and Fisherman's Wharf. This new service is also a great alternative to Giants fans, since buses stop a short walk from AT&T Park, and for people in San Francisco wanting to experience the beauty of Marin County.

August 2014: GGT customers began enjoying onboard WiFi service. The free service is easy to use and allows customers to check email or surf the Internet while they ride the bus. The District worked for years to provide robust wireless access to its bus riders, and following several unsuccessful attempts due to the unique characteristics of our service area, a comprehensive and reliable solution was found. WiFi service has been a welcome addition to the experience of riding Golden Gate Transit.

November & December 2014: GGT added 25 new Motor Coach Industries (MCI) D4500 commuter coaches to the fleet. They are bus numbers 956-980. The new buses feature an upgraded emissions package and 120-volt outlets for charging personal devices. The buses travelled from the MCI plant in Pembina, North Dakota to their new home in San Rafael.

December 2014: Due to the success of ferry shuttle Route 25, a new Larkspur Ferry shuttle Route 37 was introduced as a demonstration project, serving the Smith Ranch Park & Ride and the Terra Linda/Freitas Parkway and North San Pedro bus pad stops. The service was cancelled in June 2016 due to low ridership.

December 14, 2014: GGT eliminated its longest running route, Route 80. The route was removed due to diminished ridership and duplicative routing available on Routes 70 and 101. Resources saved by this elimination are being used to expand service on Routes 70 and 101.This change benefits customers by providing shorter travel times to/from San Francisco, more frequent weekend service, and less confusion for riders.

January 10-12, 2015: During the 3-day closure of the Golden Gate Bridge to install a moveable median barrier, GGT buses were the only passenger vehicles permitted on the Bridge between San Francisco and the North Bay.

Spring 2015: The District increased midday service between the San Francisco Financial District and Central and Southern Marin County on Routes 4 and 27.

July 2015: During the weekend closure of Doyle Drive, Golden Gate Ferry added service from Larkspur and Sausalito, including late night service from Larkspur.

September 2015: Due to the success of ferry shuttle Route 25, a new Larkspur Ferry shuttle Route 31 was introduced as a 9-month demonstration project, serving San Rafael's Fourth Street and the downtown San Rafael Transit Center. The service was cancelled in June 2016 due to low ridership.

Fall 2015: The District conducted a regional bus and ferry passenger survey to collect information to better serve our customers.

December 2015: Golden Gate Transit combined Routes 40 and 42 into a single route (Route 40) to improve travel times and increase service levels.

December 2015: Golden Gate Transit introduced new Route 580 as a demonstration route, operating between the East Bay communities of Emeryville, Berkeley, and Albany and downtown San Rafael during commute hours. Despite a robust marketing campaign that included billboard ads and commercials, the route was discontinued in September 2016 due to low ridership.

June 2016: Golden Gate Transit replaced Route 10 with new Route 30, with daily service between San Francisco, downtown Sausalito, Marin City, Hwy 101 bus pads, and the San Rafael Transit Center.

September 2016: Golden Gate Transit offered express bus service on new Routes 24X and 40X. Route 24X express trips bypass all Hwy 101 bus pads and use San Francisco's Broadway Tunnel. Route 40X weekday express trips bypass Pt. Richmond in the East Bay.

November 2016 - January 2017: The District partnered with Toys for Tots during the holiday season and invited customers and locals to Experience the Joy of Giving by bringing a new, unwrapped toy to one of many “stuff the bus” events throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. The “holiday bus” – complete with snowflakes, twinkling stars, children’s toys, and a Golden Gate Bridge “snow globe” – was assigned to various bus routes beginning in mid November and ran in revenue service through January 2017.

February 2017: Golden Gate Transit continued to make progress in providing customers with real-time bus information by installing electronic information display signs at the San Rafael Transit Center. These large flat-panel signs—part of an MTC Wayfinding Project—are similar to others installed around the Bay Area at major transit hubs.

September 2017: With the start of Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) train service between Sonoma County and downtown San Rafael, the District resurrected ferry shuttle Route 31 to connect train riders from the San Rafael Transit Center with departing ferries at the Larkspur Terminal. This free shuttle service runs daily, connecting seven trips in each direction on weekdays and three trips in each direction on weekends. The shuttle will operate while SMART works on extending its tracks and service from downtown San Rafael to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal.

September 21, 2017: A new downtown Novato bus facility opened at Redwood & Grant. The new facility improved the safety and accessibility for bus riders and buses. Pedestrians and bicyclists also saw safer access to and through the facility with signalized crosswalks. Agency partners in this project included Marin Transit, the Transportation Authority of Marin, the City of Novato, and Golden Gate Transit.

October 2017: Golden Gate Transit provided free rides in and out of Sonoma County to assist those impacted by the North Bay fires. This courtesy was offered solely for passengers whose trips began or ended in Sonoma County. GGT drivers and staff worked around the clock to provide service from Santa Rosa.

December 2017: The District showed its support to all communities affected by the devastating 2017 North Bay fires with its holiday bus, themed Strength in Community. We invited members of the community to experience the joy of giving by donating to a North Bay Fire Relief Fund.