September 17: At their Board Meeting this morning, Marin Transit Board of Directors Votes to Accept Golden Gate's Offer for Marin Transit Local Bus Service

Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District Makes Final Offer to Marin Transit to Continue Providing Local Bus Service

Preserving a Quality Customer Experience is Paramount

The Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District (GGBHTD) operates the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Transit (GGT) buses, and Golden Gate Ferry. GGT has provided local bus services within the County of Marin for the last 40 years through a contract with Marin Transit. Under the current contract with Marin Transit, GGBHTD receives 65% of Marin Transit’s operating budget and GGT carries 92% of Marin Transit’s customers.


If Marin Transit does not accept the offer summarized below, the contract with GGBHTD will be terminated effective December 31, 2013, with the potential severing of a 40 year partnership between GGBHTD and Marin Transit resulting in the loss of the now seamless, integrated bus services that are relied upon by millions of customers, coupled with the potential loss of 125 GGT jobs. Since January 2012 the GGBHTD and Marin Transit have been actively negotiating to continue to have GGBHTD be the primary Marin Transit local bus service provider.

GGBHTD current contract with Marin Transit
GGBHTD offer to Marin Transit
Impacts to Customers
Impacts to Agencies with this offer
Cost per hour
$133 per hour
Reduce to $120 per hour
Keeping GGT maintains seamless, 1st class service and retains GGT’s highly skilled team; With a 25% reduction in hours provided by GGT, Marin Local Bus routes that would be transferred from GGT to a private operator include: Supplemental School Services, Routes 19 and 51, and also some hours on Routes 23 and 29.

GGT: As many as 30 positions would be eliminated.

Marin Transit: Will contract out with a private vendor to provide service removed from GGT

Annual Escalator
5% per year
Reduce to 2.7% per year
Number of Annual hours provided
120,000 hours
Reduce total by 25% to 90,000 hours


  • 1st class, reliable and safe bus service that has an on-time performance rating that exceeds 90%
  • 1st class buses with customer amenities -- reading lights, cushioned seating, Wi Fi this fall
  • Seamless, integrated service that is operated by extensively trained, highly skilled bus operators serving both Marin Transit local customers and GGT regional customers
  • Seamless, integrated service with bus operators and customer reps that know all of bus routes, not just the regional GGT routes
  • Tenured bus operators with an average of 12 years of service, and mechanics with 12.7 years of service
  • Existing and enhanced infrastructure in place now for both GGT and Marin Transit needs
  • Excellent customer service that benefits all customers – GGT and Marin Transit.


GGBHTD is a contractor that works for Marin Transit, and ultimately it is Marin Transit’s decision as to who they contract with to provide the Marin County local transit. The contract with Marin Transit provides that if either party wishes to terminate the contact, a notice of termination must be sent two years prior to the termination. On January 3, 2012, Marin Transit sent GGBHTD their “Notice of Intent to Terminate” the existing contract. Per this Notice, the relationship with Marin Transit would end on December 31, 2013.

The GGBTHD wants to maintain this relationship, the partnership and the seamlessness for because it is in the best interest of the customers that both agencies have served for the last 40 years. The Marin Transit Board meets on Monday, September 17, 2012, to consider the GGBHTD offer.


In 1971, the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (GGBHTD) began operating public bus and ferry transit service to relieve the then traffic gridlock on US Highway 101 and to promote regional mobility. Since that same year, the GGBHTD has also been the operator of the local bus services within the County of Marin under a contract with Marin Transit. GGBHTD is required under state law to be compensated for any local (intracounty) transit services it provides.

The GGBHTD operates three integrated regional transportation modes: the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Transit (GGT) buses, and Golden Gate Ferry. The GGBHTD is also a major employer in Marin County, employing a total of 800 employees that work in Marin, San Francisco, and Sonoma counties. The GGBHTD funds ALL of its public services using: (1) Bridge tolls, (2) bus and ferry transit fares, (3) advertising/concessions, (4) Marin Transit contract for local bus service, and (5) limited state and federal grant funds. The current FY2012/2013 budget includes operating revenues of $172.5 million and operating expenses of $178.7 million, with the difference ($6.2 million) coming from GGBHTD reserve funds. And it is Bridge tolls that provide 38% of the subsidy necessary to keep the regional bus and ferry services running.


Existing and enhanced infrastructure already in place for the two systems

  • Convenient transfer and customer service facility at San Rafael Transit Center
  • Two maintenance and operations facilities within the county, including onsite machine shop, body shop, and paint booth
  • Versatile (and relatively new) fleet which can be used flexibly to meet new demands
  • Turnkey capital and staffing resources available due to relationships with other
  • GGBHTD operations beyond what a small transit agency would have
  • State-of-the-art technology applications for radio communication, vehicle tracking, passenger counting, and real-time passenger information is imminent
  • State-of-the-art scheduling applications which optimize manpower and capital resources needed for the region
  • Early access at no cost to Clipper program for Marin Transit via the GGT relationship
  • Access to farebox availability and economies of scale purchase through GGT

Excellent customer service benefits for all customers

  • Integrated fare structure
  • 600,000 Marin Transit local customer trips provided on Routes 10,70, 80 regional service at no cost to Marin Transit
  • Consolidated printed and electronic customer information at no cost to Marin Transit
  • Call Center which can handle information and mailing fulfillments for both entities
  • 24/7 customer information via an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) call response system by end of 2012
  • Bilingual call services with access to over 200 other languages
  • Access to Google Transit and 511 services without having to manage separately
  • New Customer Service Center at SRTC, Marin Transit’s most important boarding and transfer location
  • Passenger amenities such as shelters, benches, and trash cans that are available upon request even for locations that are served only by Marin Transit
  • Servicing passenger amenities (includes cleaning and maintenance)
  • Signage installation and removal
  • Access to a large vendor network for specialty needs in particular
  • Wi-Fi on all buses in fall 2012

Access to experienced and professional staff

  • Access to legal expertise specializing in transit law and regulations such as issues related to Title VI, bus stops access, ADA, procurement, First Amendment rights for advertising, and FTA schools and charters
  • Benefits from Bridge District staff managing procurement and oversight of various contracts which generate revenue for Marin Transit
  • Planning, Scheduling, Marketing, and Public Relations services performed by well-known professionals in the transit industry
  • Expert grants acquisition and ability to manage complex processes
  • Access to maintenance staff which has researched vehicle piggyback options and products, resulting in a better price and faster delivery for Marin Transit
  • Opportunity to participate in joint procurement activities, including the Regional Transit Coordination Council (RTCC), resulting in lower administrative and operating costs
  • Experienced staff trained to manage crisis situations ranging from acts of God to strikes to reroutes to major disruptions to passenger disturbances
  • Depth of operations team which can respond to needs 24/7 including maintenance needs and on-street supervision
  • Expert compliance capability including NTD reporting and data collection
  • Expert knowledge of BAAQMD, CHP, CARB, and FTA requirements
  • Ability to model a Title VI program and LEP program based on GGT’s approved and recognized programs
  • Superior service provided by a team of transit professionals - Tenured work force with average service of 12 years for drivers and 12.7 years for mechanics
  • Exceed Living Wage requirements for Marin County and offer good benefits for employees and their families
  • Safe driving average of 9 years
  • Accident average of 1 per 858,143 miles in accordance with NTD reporting requirements
  • Achievement of well over 15,000 revenue service miles between road calls while using strict NTD definitions for the previous five reporting years
  • On-time performance consistently exceeding a 90% percent goal
  • National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified Master Transit Bus Technicians on staff

Additional valuable benefits for a joint relationship

  • Compliance with Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Transit Sustainability Plan
  • Long-established relationship with many community social agencies and area businesses, particularly in Marin County schools and in the Canal
  • Access to many law enforcement agencies which have been GGT partners for decades
  • Ability to offer supplemental service as part of a bigger service package that is subject to less scrutiny than if these trips were to stand alone
  • Seat at the table at regional level by being one of the “Big 7” in the Bay Area rather than having small agencies as the peer group
  • Permanent seat on CTA Executive Committee, again based on size and stature
  • Concierge service – “one call gets it all”

GGBHTD Begins Public Transit Services

1964: Marin County Transit District (MCTD) was formed by a vote of the people of Marin County and was given the responsibility for providing local transit service within Marin County (The agency is now called Marin Transit and retains the responsibility for local transit.)

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 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 focused was on the planning and development of the GGT regional bus system which included extensive including public outreach (21 public hearings in the Highway 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.

November 22, 1971 to December 9, 1971: The first of 30 Greyhound drivers were hired by GGT.

December 15, 1971: The GGBHTD September 1975 report to the California Legislature reports that GGT began operation of Marin Local Service, under contract to MCTD, with the operation of three routes: Sausalito Ferry feeder shuttle service, one route operating in central and northern Marin, and one ferry feeder shuttle service to the ferry landing in Tiburon, CA,

January 1, 1972: GGT regional 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 regional commute service started.

By August 1972: With the Urban Mass Transit Administration (UMTA and now FTA) grants providing funding to acquire more buses, GGT was operating 175 buses: 164 were new coaches and 20 were still leased from Greyhound.

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.