Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Connecting RTA Route 1 to the Corona Transit Center


Photo: Riverside Transit Agency

We have long wondered and questioned the logic of why Riverside Transit Agency's Route 1 which provides local service between Corona, Downtown Riverside and UC Riverside bypasses the Corona Transit Center even though the multi-modal hub is located just a few blocks north of the route itself. Local officials have validly and correctly argued that by adding this short branch, another bus would be required to maintain the current service frequency without cancelling service elsewhere along the route. Adding the extra bus does cost money even though we do agree that this service addition is long overdue.

Unlike several other Inland Empire local bus routes, Route 1 is by no means circuitous. The line is pretty much as streamlined and direct as it gets under the hub-and-spoke routing model. It is by far RTA's most used line. Without the addition of another bus, it would be difficult for RTA to have the line routed to connect to the Corona Transit Center without truncating service elsewhere or cutting service frequency. Both of the latter alternatives would prove to be chaotic for this busy bus route and are therefore not feasible options.

Unfortunately, RTA had to wait for the public resources to add another bus to the route. RTA has long been at the mercy of a small operating budget. The county's spread-out demographics and development combined with a soft economy and job market could be cited as valid reasons, but there was really no excuse of why it took so long to get this short branch funded as it should have been taken care of back when the Corona Transit Center opened in 2010. Regional and state officials should take that under consideration during future budget negotiations to ensure RTA has the funds to route its buses to serve newly developed infrastructure.

Today, RTA finally has the resources to add this vital branch which will allow Route 1 riders to connect seamlesssly with the Corona Transit Center. The connection promises to provide better passenger amenities for local bus transfers and will allow for additional feeder connections to/from Metrolink and CommuterLink Routes 206 and 216 for longer-distance choice riders. RTA should move forward with this proposal and expect some additional ridership growth for the line at Corona. We'll talk more about the connecting commuter express routes and proposed upgrades for Route 216 tomorrow.

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