Posted July 18, 2014

Trips on Routes 4, 24, and 54
Cancelled to Improve Predictability

To help resolve cancelling bus trips without notice due to a lack of staffing, Golden Gate Transit will eliminate a total of four morning and four evening trips as shown below. Routes 4, 24, and 54 will be affected. Cancelling these trips will allow more predictability for our customers.

The following trips will be cancelled effective Monday, July 28:

Southbound trips eliminated (time at first bus stop):

  • Route 4 - 7:16 am
  • Route 24 – 6:46 am
  • Route 24 – 7:17 am
  • Route 54 - 6:40 am

Northbound trips eliminated (time at first bus stop):

  • Route 4 – 4:56 pm
  • Route 24 – 4:25 pm
  • Route 24 – 4:57 pm
  • Route 54 – 4:43 pm

Thank you for your patience over the past few weeks as we have tried to stretch our resources. We know we have inconvenienced our customers, and we hope this helps us to a better job in the future.

For trip times, visit our Bus Schedules page.

For trip planning assistance, call 511 (say "Golden Gate Transit," then "operator")/TDD 711. The Golden Gate Customer Service Center is open weekdays, 7am to 6pm.

Background

Golden Gate Transit (GGT) has historically provided a reliable, quality service with few disruptions; however, recently we have been forced to cancel trips due to a shortage of Bus Operators. We apologize for this inconsistent service. An unexpected high number of retirements (13 this year vs. normally 2 at this point in the year), Bus Operator absenteeism, as well as a change in service demands, have caught us short, and unfortunately our customers have been inconvenienced. We are taking steps to correct these shortfalls. We have accelerated hiring of new Bus Operators, but because this takes time, we are taking some interim steps to help improve our reliability.

So that you know, we first cancel any stand-alone trips during the a.m. or p.m. commute because they are not attached to other trips and will help minimize other service disruptions. Currently we have eight such trips in the a.m. and nine in the p.m. There is no regular driver assigned to these trips, and they are operated from the Extra Board (a group of drivers who drive whatever is open work on any given day). If you see a new face every day and not a regular Bus Operator on your trip, you are likely riding one of these stand-alone trips subject to cancellation first. We will identify these trips for you with information specific to the routes impacted.

To give you perspective for the month of June, we were scheduled to operate 22,142 trips. We cancelled 121 of those trips, or less than half a percent. That is the highest cancellation rate in the last six years. Most months we average less than 20 cancellations due to various reasons, including staffing shortfalls, and for many months we had no cancellations. Our Board-adopted cancellation standard for purposes of data reporting required by the Federal Transit Administration, our source for federal transit funding, is no more than one percent. Although we are still operating within standard, it does not matter when we are displeasing customers on a regular basis.

Many of our customers have indicated when a bus shows up, it is a 42-passenger bus rather than a larger 57-passenger bus (MCI). As a reminder, in October 2008, the Board of Directors adopted a policy that routes with more than 35 passengers on a trip would be given priority assignment for a larger MCI bus. If a smaller bus is serving a route, it is because that route has historically carried fewer passengers. We cannot adjust equipment at the last minute, should passenger numbers jump on a particular day, especially when we do not have drivers available to mobilize different equipment. Currently we have 75 of these larger buses in service, with replacement buses to be built later this year. However, we will not have new buses in service until early 2015.

At this point we are considering cancelling some of our stand-alone trips until further notice. Once we have a group of Bus Operators graduate from a 10-week training course, the situation should improve. Please stay tuned for specific information regarding trip eliminations.

Last, if you would like to receive information regarding a specific route, please sign up on our website to receive information. Later this year, we expect to have our real-time passenger information up and running (it is going into test mode soon) so that you will be able to get information online and at your stops regularly and not have to wonder when your bus is coming.

In the meantime, we are sorry for the deficient service we are delivering. Even though we are complying with our Board standards, and an accepted industry standard, we certainly know that our current operations are not meeting the quality of service our customers have come to expect.