Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Better Bus Service between west Riverside and San Bernardino Counties

Circuitous: Try to explain how one can get to Ontario from Eastvale or Norco quickly by bus.
Map: Riverside Transit Agency

Bus transit service between the two Inland Empire counties along the western side is long overdue for better connectivity. There is some slight good news to report and analyse regarding this matter. Bus riders living the Eastvale, Norco and north Corona areas may see Saturday bus service should the Riverside Transit Agency approve a proposal to add such service to Route 3 which connects Corona to Eastvale via Hamner Road. In addition, RTA proposed some evening service on weekdays with a 6:53pm and 7:38pm northbound departure from Corona and a 5:48pm and 6:33pm southbound departure from Eastvale.

Proposed: RTA Route 3 Saturday Service
These upgrades are possible thanks to the federal government's Job Access Reverse Commute program. Several other of RTA's proposed upgrades fall under JARC funds. Because the routes upgrades are specially funded, economic and job growth along or near the Hamner Road corridor between Corona and Eastvale will be necessary to fund the service permanently through tax revenue and passenger fares. We are hopeful that this will happen as the logistics sector continues to grow in the area.

The routing of bus Route 3 is fairly direct and the added Saturday service is certainly desirable, but many more additional upgrades will be necessary to improve inter-county connections. Bus transit routes on each end of the county line in the Eastvale area and Ontario areas currently follow a design pattern that does not consider direct connections between two major activity nodes: The Eastvale Gateway and Ontario Mills Mall bus transfer hubs. Both RTA and Omnitrans should consider in their short range plans to close this gap as the only inter-agency transit connection in this area involves a circuitous ride to the Country Village transfer point north of Mira Loma with many transfers.

Regional officials from both counties should ensure their transit agencies have the funds necessary to close this transit gap. The following upgrades should be debated and considered for funding:
  • RTA Route 3: Extend north to the Country Village transfer point via Bellegrave Avenue. Maintain hourly headways.
  • Omnitrans Route 82: Reroute the western branch of the route to connect and terminate at the Eastvale Gateway. Replace the Route 82 service via Milliken Avenue with a new local route running at least hourly between the Eastvale Gateway and Chaffey College serving as part of the long-range sbX bus rapid transit master plan. The two lines could be also be inter-lined for a guaranteed timed transfer connection. Maintain hourly headways.
  • New East/West Omnitrans Route: Establish a new east/west local route connecting the Eastvale transit hub to Diamond Bar via Chino and Chino Hills with a timed connection to Foothill Transit Route 482. Route would run hourly.

Long-Range Proposed sbX System Corridors
Map: Omnitrans
Omnitrans has big plans to explore additional sbX routes in the region which includes direct inter-county connectors into Riverside County.

While it may be way too premature right now to bring bus rapid transit through Eastvale, running direct local service with hourly headways under the hub-and-spoke model with timed transfers at the transit hubs would be a sound short-range plan. The direct local routes would lay the foundation for longer-range sbX service as the region's economy grows.

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