By: Nicholas Ventrone, Community Engagement Director
Continuing with the Coalition's analysis of the Riverside Transit Agency's proposed 10 Year Transit Plan, we have found that RTA has plans to combine two busy bus routes that serve the Perris-Moreno Valley-Riverside corridor into one. Routes 16 and 19 are proposed to be merged into a new Route 16 with a 30 minute frequency 7 days per week with additional weekday short turn trips between UC Riverside and Moreno Valley College with a combined headway of 15 minutes through this segment during the workweek.
In addition, RTA has proposed late night service for the route with the last bus arriving at its final destination at midnight.
There are some existing segments that are proposed to be excluded. To name one, RTA proposes dropping the University Avenue segment between UC Riverside and downtown Riverside. In addition, the deviation to the logistics job hubs off of the Ramona Expressway in north Perris is slated to be dropped as well.
For Riverside's University Avenue, RTA has indicated that Route 1 would serve as an alternative. On the surface, this proposal may work, but here are a few points that I need to address. First, if a significant portion of the total Route 16 ridership base passes through UC Riverside and into downtown or vice versa, maintaining through-service to the downtown transit station may be the better option. To be fair, Route 1 is proposed to have a 10 minute service frequency on weekdays with 15 minute headways on weekends and 30 minute frequencies during the evenings. That means the transfer layover time at UC Riverside would be short and acceptable. However, the main problem with the routing is the proposal to not align this route nor Route 1 to the Riverside Downtown Metrolink station. Route 16 riders headed north to connect to Metrolink would need to transfer twice in Riverside to reach the station. That connection needs to be addressed.
Regarding the proposal to remove the deviation to the logistics hubs in north Perris, the streamlined routing still runs near the warehouses within an acceptable walking distance. I don't see a major mobility threat in this case. A fair way to address the stop removal is for the City of Perris to work with RTA on this and ensure pedestrian and bicycle facilities are adequate between the logistics hub and the Perris Boulevard bus stops. In addition, timed transfers with Route 41 would help offset this issue as well.
Speaking of Route 41, RTA has proposed cancelling weekend service aboard this line due to lack of sufficient ridership. I will analyse this proposal to see what mobility negations will come about. Unlike lifeline connector routes, I don't anticipate any grave mobility threats given the presence of other north/south 7-day routes nearby. However, we shouldn't leave the people who live or work along the Lasselle/Evans Road corridor in the dark. I'll explore some alternative ideas such as timed transfers or weekend-only deviations so that productive mobility can be maintained on weekends through the affected areas.