Are buses a reliable option for intercounty travel between the Inland Empire and other portions of Southern California through corridors not served by rail? Are such bus trips fast? Does the route go where you want to go? Is the fare collection process simple to understand?
If you are not satisfied with the answers to these questions, you're not alone. The Transit Coalition supports the expansion of an expanded regional transit network in the Inland Empire which promises to bring a speedy and immediate alternative to slow local bus rides for cross-regional trips. In addition, coordinated service, with fare and transfer agreements between transit operators, can make inter-county bus travel a more feasible option.
SR-91 Freeway (Riverside County-Orange County): - Feasibility studies document a need for hourly express bus service and improved Metrolink rail service through one of the most heavily traveled freeway corridors in the country. Officials should consider the future development of bus transit infrastructure and direct-access ramps between the 91 Express Lanes and major transit centers, hubs, and activity centers. We're advocating for a future rapid express route which would be an upgrade of RTA Route 216 between Riverside and the Anaheim Regional Intermodal Transportation Center which would operate at least every hour from early morning until late night with 1/2 hour frequencies during peak commute times. Potential night owl runs can be brought in as the region grows.
I-15 Freeway (Corona-Temecula) - Riverside County transportation officials are exploring how to improve the existing express bus service and streamline local north/south routes which serve the I-15 corridor. RCTC is working on a plan to bring toll lanes to this freeway. Direct-access ramps should be considered at major bus transfer points along the HOT lanes. We're advocating for a long term future rapid express route which would span between Downtown Lake Elsinore and Corona and extend west to the Fullerton Transportation Center using the high occupancy lanes. The line would be supported by future economic growth and operate at least every hour from early morning until late night with additional runs during peak commute times. A local limited stop BRT line and streamlined local service between Downtown Lake Elsinore and the Pechanga Resort would cater to future transit-oriented development along the Historic Highway 395 and Jefferson Avenue corridors.
I-15 Freeway (Temecula-San Diego County) - The current RTA CommuterLink express and Beach Bus trips to Oceanside and Escondido are very popular. With proper planning and inter-agency negotiations, productive transit connections between the counties will bridge a transit gap during the off-peak hours. Integration with the SANDAG 2050 Regional Plan should be considered. A future rapid express line between Murrieta and points south is being envisioned.
I-15 Freeway (Corona-Ontario-High Desert) - The heavily traveled I-15 freeway through the Cajon Pass lacked public transit alternatives for several years. SANBAG and VVTA put together commuter transit alternatives for this corridor. Officials should also work with the private sector to expand intercity options and improve marketplace competition. At minimum, public transportation links between the Corona/Eastvale area and points north served by Omnitrans should be streamlined with potential express connections to the Montclair Transcenter and seamless connections to the Foothill Transit Silver Streak BRT express route to Los Angeles.
SR-60 Freeway (Fontana-Riverside-Beaumont) - Based on results on recent feasibility studies, officials should work to improve the existing regional bus routes between these regions. This includes a single regional bus line between Beaumont and Downtown Riverside and a potential rapid express line between Moreno Valley, Riverside, and San Bernardino which would be an upgrade of Omnitrans Route 215. The intercounty rapid line would be funded by both counties and riders would be able to board and alight at any stop. A second regional connector between Riverside and the Fontana area should also be considered to close a major transit gap.
I-10 Freeway (Banning-Coachella Valley) - Huge transit gaps can be found between Palm Springs and the Beaumont/Banning area to the west via the San Gorgonio Pass. According to studies, officials should work with the private sector to improve existing intercity bus lines and continue to negotiate with Union Pacific Railroad for better intercity rail service. Public-private partnerships with the adjacent casinos can also help close the transit gap between the regions with through-service; the casinos and transfer hubs would serve as potential bus stops. The corridor is currently served by one commuter line originating from Rancho Mirage, limited Amtrak train and rail feeder service, and a single Greyhound bus station in Indio caters to intercity bus travelers.
I-215 Freeway (Riverside-Temecula) - RTA has bridged an off-peak transit gap several years ago between Temecula and Menifee and the agency is now in the process of studying additional transportation alternatives including possible expanded express bus transit along the I-215 Corridor.
Private Sector Intercity Bus Service
Public officials should continue to work with intercity bus service providers to improve marketplace competition among intercity lines through the Inland Empire which would strengthen options and lower fares. Greyhound Bus Lines should not be in a position to monopolize the bus market. Stagecoach Group PLC has recently brought the Megabus to operate between the Riverside Downtown Metrolink Station and Las Vegas. Transportes Intercalifornias also provides intercity service service to/from Mexico.
Private-sector intercity bus service is vital for productive express bus service through suburban and rural areas where off-peak public express bus transit would otherwise not be feasible.
For example, allowing a private carrier to use an unused RTA bus bay or the streetside curb at the Corona Transit Center would yield numerous benefits. Transit riders would be given additional express bus service options in a productive manner at a centralized transit center.
The Transit Coalition is an entirely grassroots campaign, supported by the time and resources given by concerned citizens. With your support, you can help us close these bus transit gaps sooner!
The Transit Coalition is a non-profit public charity exempt from federal income tax under Section 501[c](3) of the Internal Revenue Service.
The Transit Coalition are not affiliated with any public entity or private organization.
The Transit Coalition | Post Office Box 567 | San Fernando, CA 91341-0567
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