Bridge Toll Dollars Drive Decade of Success For WestCAT’s Lynx Service
OAKLAND, CA — The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Western Contra Costa Transit Authority (WestCAT) today teamed to celebrate the 10th anniversary of WestCAT’s popular Lynx express bus service connecting Hercules with San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal. Lynx ridership growth has averaged 10 percent to 15 percent each year over the past decade, and passenger fares covered 90 percent of Lynx’s operating costs during the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2015. This compares to an average farebox recovery rate of 36 percent for all Bay Area transit services.
MTC since 2006 has delivered $3.8 million in operating support from the Regional Measure 2 bridge toll increase approved by Bay Area voters in 2004 for the Lynx service and for WestCAT’s JX route connecting Hercules with the El Cerrito del Norte BART station. The Commission voted last year to help finance expansion of the Lynx service by increasing its annual commitment of Measure 2 funds to $919,550 from $317,950.
“WestCAT qualified for the extra toll dollars the old-fashioned way,” explained MTC Commissioner and Contra Costa County Supervisor Federal Glover. “It earned them.”
WestCAT later this month will begin the second part of a two-phase Lynx expansion by increasing the number of peak-period departures from four per hour to six per hour. The first phase of the expansion was launched in August 2015 when the number of Lynx trips each weekday grew to 36 from the previous 31. This reduced headways from 20 minutes to 15 minutes during peak commute times, and added a later eastbound departure from San Francisco.
“The success of the Lynx service reflects the success of the Regional Measure 2 program overall,” said MTC Commissioner and Orinda City Councilmember Amy Rein Worth. “In addition to major construction projects like the Caldecott Tunnel Fourth Bore, e-BART to Pittsburg and Antioch, and the widening of Highway 4, express bus services in the toll bridge corridors are a key part of the RM 2 operating program. Bay Area voters are getting a lot of bang for the buck, and we expect the increased Lynx service to spur even stronger ridership growth in the years ahead.”
All told, Regional Measure 2 allocations to date total nearly $1.8 billion. This includes over $397 million for transit operations around the Bay Area and $1.4 billion for 38 separate capital projects.
MTC is the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area’s transportation planning, coordinating and financing agency.
Randy Rentschler, MTC, (415) 778-6780
John Goodwin, MTC, (415) 778-5262