We are going to state this issue once again. Local bus service in northwest Murrieta and south Temecula is very circuitous which makes connections and integration to the rest of the RTA bus system a process that can last in excess of several hours or more for a one way trip. Study after study backs up the fact that the routing in this region is overdue for streamlining and more direct routing.
For instance, a short ride aboard Route 24 from the Temecula Valley Hospital to the County Center transfer hub takes well over an hour. Add in another 15 minutes if the route goes to the Temecula Library. If the bus route was more direct and served the Margarita Road corridor starting from Pechanga at the south and running through the transit hub, the short ride would take no more than 25-30 minutes, or about 35-40 with runs stopping at the library.
The same holds true for Route 23. A trip from the County Center hub to the Inland Valley Medical Center currently takes over an hour. The same trip would take about 30-35 minutes with direct hub-and-spoke routing via Jefferson Avenue.
|Regional Connector: RTA Route 61|
|Former Sun City Scooter Route 61|
However officials did the wise thing of streamlining and converting the route into a regional connector that it is today's Route 61. It took some time, but ridership shot up with the improved direct connections to/from the Southwest region. The route segment through north Murrieta near Scott Road should be further streamlined with the line extended north to connect with the Perris Valley Line at the Perris Station Transit Center; that will likely happen further down the road when a second bus line is routed through the corridor.
Community shuttles and circulators can be good modes of transit for the short-range trips that span a few blocks to a few miles. The Harveston Trolley Shuttle and Temecula's Old Town Farmer's Market shuttle are good examples. But for longer-haul trips that involve transfers, the local bus routes in the Southwest region need to be integrated better with the rest of RTA's bus system with more direct routing and timed transfers at the hubs. With the region's medical sector on the rise, county officials should plan to make sure RTA has the funds to move forward on this issue.