Golden Gate Transit

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Golden Gate Transit
Golden Gate Transit Logo.jpg
Golden Gate Transit route 18 bus on North Point Street, August 2017.JPG
Golden Gate Transit 908 in San Francisco
Parent Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District
FoundedJanuary 1, 1972 (1972-01-01)
Headquarters1011 Andersen Drive
San Rafael, California
Service area San Francisco Bay Area (San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, and Contra Costa Counties)
Service type bus service
HubsCopeland Street Transit Mall (Petaluma), Donahue & Terners (Marin City), Redwood & Grant (Novato)
Stations El Cerrito del Norte BART, San Rafael Transit Center, Santa Rosa Transit Mall
Fleet147 buses
Daily ridership4,200 (weekdays, Q3 2022) [1]
Annual ridership814,200 (2021) [2]

Golden Gate Transit (GGT) is a public transportation system serving the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area in California, United States. It primarily serves Marin County, Sonoma County, and San Francisco, and also provides limited service to Contra Costa County. In 2021, Golden Gate Transit had a ridership of 814,200, or about per weekday as of the third quarter of 2022.


Golden Gate Transit is one of three transportation systems owned and operated by the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District; the others are the Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Ferry, both of which connect San Francisco and Marin County. Funding for cross-bridge "Transbay" bus service is partially subsidized by Golden Gate Bridge tolls in addition to traditional federal and state sources. [3] GGT operates some bus service within Marin County under contract with Marin Transit.


Golden Gate Transit's original logo, in use since the start of service, as seen on a bus stop sign in San Rafael. Golden Gate Transit bus stop sign in February 2008.jpg
Golden Gate Transit's original logo, in use since the start of service, as seen on a bus stop sign in San Rafael.
Golden Gate Transit's second generation logo, in use until 2010, as seen on a bus stop sign in Novato. Hamilton 014 2.jpg
Golden Gate Transit's second generation logo, in use until 2010, as seen on a bus stop sign in Novato.
A Golden Gate Transit bus on Route 101 at the San Rafael Transit Center. Goldengatetransit 1572 sanrafael.jpg
A Golden Gate Transit bus on Route 101 at the San Rafael Transit Center.

Golden Gate Transit service began on January 1, 1972, as the culmination of years of work for the Golden Gate Bridge to alleviate traffic congestion, reduce pollution, and take over unprofitable commuter bus service operated by Greyhound. [4] GGT had previously began operating local bus service in Marin County under contract with Marin Transit beginning December 15, 1971. [5] Initial service ran on two corridors in San Francisco: Civic Center routes on Van Ness Avenue and the McAllister/Golden Gate one way pair, and Financial District routes on North Point Street and the Battery/Sansome pair. [6]

The system initially operated with 152 buses, including 20 leased buses, out of garages in Novato and Santa Rosa and a temporary facility in San Rafael. A permanent garage opened in San Rafael in 1974, and the facility was expanded in 1987 to house additional administrative staff. Transbay commuter bus service was reduced in 1987 as a result of declining ridership associated with a shift in jobs from San Francisco to Bay Area suburbs. However, that increase in the number of suburban jobs led to the initiation of commuter bus service from Sonoma County to Marin County employment centers in 1990.

In 1992, the District and opened the C. Paul Bettini Transit Center in San Rafael (also called the San Rafael Transit Center). The transit station was designed as the hub in a hub-and-spoke local bus system and immediately became GGT's busiest transit station. In 1993, acting on behalf of MTC, GGT began operating service between Marin and Contra Costa counties via the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. That same year, the district initiated inter-county paratransit service, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act), through an agreement with Marin County and its paratransit contractor, Whistlestop Wheels.

Significant service reductions were implemented in 2003 as a result of a declared fiscal emergency. As a result of the restructuring, all GGT service to the Sonoma Valley and Sebastopol was eliminated. Ferry Feeder bus routes to the ferry terminals in Larkspur and Sausalito were also discontinued. This fiscal emergency helped spur the passage of Measure A by Marin County voters in 2004. The sales tax measure established a new funding source for Marin Transit and was a catalyst for changes to the contract the District had with Marin Transit. Marin Transit assumed control over local bus service planning, and it began transitioning some service to private contractors.

On June 15, 2009, Golden Gate Transit began operating Route 101, [7] which provides all-day service between Santa Rosa and San Francisco with fewer stops, similar to many bus rapid transit "light" systems that rely on stop spacing changes rather than capital improvements to speed up buses. Introduced initially as a weekday-only route, service was expanded to Saturdays in June 2010 and to Sundays and holidays in September 2011.

On December 13, 2015, service to Contra Costa County on Route 42 was merged with Route 40. The next day, service began on Route 580, [8] which was the District's first transit line into nearby Alameda County. The latter experiment failed and Route 580 was discontinued in September 2016, however the numeric designation was revived when Route 40 was renumbered to Route 580 in December 2021. GGT buses returned to Alameda County in February 2019 to provide Early Bird Express bus service under contract with BART.

As a result of declining ridership due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting loss in operating revenue, including a reduction in Golden Gate Bridge tolls, [9] bus service was dramatically reduced throughout 2020. GGT had 27 routes at the beginning of the pandemic and just seven routes by December 2020. In March 2022, Route 4C was revived as Route 114.

Service area

Golden Gate Transit serves cities and communities in four Bay Area counties: San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, and Contra Costa. [10]

Cities and communities served

CountyCities and communities
Contra Costa County El Cerrito , Point Richmond, Richmond
Marin County Corte Madera , Greenbrae, Ignacio, Larkspur , Marin City, Marinwood, Mill Valley , Novato , San Quentin, San Rafael , Sausalito , Strawberry, Terra Linda
San Francisco Civic Center, Financial District, Marina District, The Presidio, SoMa
Sonoma County Cotati , Petaluma , Rohnert Park , Santa Rosa



Golden Gate Transit has operated mostly suburban-style coaches fitted with high-back seats, overhead luggage bins, and reading lights since its inception. The full fleet has been equipped with wheelchair lifts since 1997 for accessibility. [11] Bike racks were installed on buses beginning in 1999 as part of the Bike Racks on Buses program. [12]

Current fleet

The active fleet consists of 147 buses owned by Golden Gate Transit. GGT also operates buses owned by Marin Transit, as described here.

YearFleet numbersQuantityMakeModelLength (feet)Floor typeNumber of seatsBike rack stylePropulsionImage
2010 (901-923)
2012 (924-955)
2015 (956-980)
901-98080 MCI D4500CT 45High57Luggage bayDiesel GGT MCI D4500CT.jpg
20191901–196767 Gillig Low Floor 40Low39Front mountedDiesel-electric hybrid GGT route 70 bus at Lucky Drive bus pad, December 2019.JPG

Historical fleet

YearFleet numbersQuantityMakeModelLength (feet)Number of seatsWheelchair liftImageCurrent status
1971 (701-812)
1972 (813-860)
701-860160 GM New Look 4045No GGT New Look.jpg Retired by 1997; bus 812 retained for historical purposes
19821001–101616GMAdvanced Design4043YesNARetired by 1998
19831017–106751GMAdvanced Design4041YesNARetired by 2000
1986501-5044 Gillig Phantom3026YesNARetired in 2003
1987401-42121 MCI 102A34045YesNARetired by 2001
19891101–118080 TMC RTS4039YesNARetired in 2003
1990514-5218 New Flyer D60HF6062YesNAPurchased used from SamTrans in 2003; retired in 2007
19911181–124363TMCRTS4040Yes GGT TMC RTS.jpg Retired by 2012
19941401–144141 Flxible Metro 4045Yes Charleston Flxible Metro bus - CARTA 1411, ex-Golden Gate Transit (2018).jpg Retired by 2008
1996 (601-630)
1997 (631-632)
1999 (633-646)
601-64646MCI102DL34557Yes GGT MCI 102DL3.jpg Retired by 2015
19971301–133030 NovaBus RTS4043Yes GGT NovaBus RTS Single.jpg Retired by 2010
20001251–126414NovaBusRTS4039Yes GGT NovaBus RTS 40.jpg Retired by 2016
2001505-5084NovaBusRTS3027Yes GGT NovaBus RTS 30.jpg Retired in 2016
2003691-6966MCID45004557Yes GGT MCI D4500.jpg Retired in 2016
20031501–158080 Orion V4041Yes GGT Orion V.jpg Retired in 2019


Golden Gate Transit charges different fares, depending on distance (zones) traveled and method of payment. [13] Fares can be paid with cash or Clipper card. As of July 1, 2021, adult cash fares are as follows:

San FranciscoMarin CountySonoma CountyEast Bay
A Golden Gate Transit transfer allowing travel for up to 3 hours. Goldengatetransit transfer local.jpg
A Golden Gate Transit transfer allowing travel for up to 3 hours.

Adult Clipper fares are discounted 20% for most trips, except within Zones 2, 3, and 4 where the discount is 10% to match Marin Transit fares. A 50% discount is provided to youth (ages 5 through 18), senior (ages 65 and over), disabled ( Wheelchair symbol.svg ), Medicare passengers, and passengers with a Clipper START card. In addition, as a result of a bus service contract with BART, Clipper fares for travel within Zone 7 and between Zones 1 and 7 are further reduced.

Transfers are issued by the farebox upon request at the time of cash fare payment. Clipper automatically tracks transfers. [14] Transfers are valid for two hours for intra-county travel and three hours for inter-county travel and can be used twice. Round-trips are not permitted for inter-county travel. Full transfer privileges are available to/from Marin Transit.

Transfers are issued from GGT to Golden Gate Ferry for cash and Clipper customers, but transfers from Golden Gate Ferry to GGT are available only to Clipper customers. Transfers are available to/from some other connecting transit systems, including AC Transit, Muni, Petaluma Transit, Santa Rosa CityBus, SMART, SolTrans, Sonoma County Transit, and WestCAT. Muni transfers are available only to Clipper customers.

Golden Gate Transit accepts one-day and 31-day passes issued by Marin Transit for rides within Marin County. No other pass products are accepted.

Club Bus program

The Club Bus program was administered by Golden Gate Transit through 2012. It provided commuter clubs with contract support for subscription bus service on routes not otherwise operated. The program also provided a 30% subsidy for the cost of service. [15] The program required the formation of not-for-profit organizations to collect riders' subscription fees and develop schedules.

The Marin Commute Club, which began service in 1971, had direct service from Marin County to three University of California, San Francisco locations (Parnassus Campus, Mission Bay Campus, San Francisco General Hospital) not otherwise served by Golden Gate Transit. Daily ridership dropped from 300 in 1978 to 120 in 2012, and down further to 55 in 2014 shortly before the service was discontinued altogether. [16] [17]

The Valley of the Moon Commute Club provided bus service to the San Francisco Financial District from the Sonoma Valley, which otherwise does not have direct bus service to San Francisco. It was created in 1973 and operated as part of the Club Bus program until 2011. [18] [19] At its peak, the club had service on five buses. However, the economic downturn and changing travel patterns resulted in substantial service reductions and fare hikes. By late 2010, service had been cut to one round-trip with a monthly subscription fee of $350. [15] In February 2011, with the club on the brink of shutting down, service was transferred to a private tour company. [20] Due to further ridership declines, service was discontinued in May 2014. [18]

See also

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  1. "Transit Ridership Report Third Quarter 2022" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. November 22, 2022. Retrieved February 1, 2023.
  2. "Transit Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2021" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. March 10, 2022. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  3. Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (15 June 2007). "Golden Gate Transit: History". Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District. Retrieved 12 November 2007.
  4. Jeff Greer (1971-12-27). "Greyhound's Stormy Era Of Commute Runs Ending" . Daily Independent Journal. San Rafael, California. pp. 1–25.
  5. Bus Timeline
  6. "S.F. Stops Listed for New Marin Transit". The San Francisco Examiner. December 23, 1971. p. 6 via
  7. servicechanges_jun09
  8. "Current News – District | Golden Gate".
  9. Proposed Budget FY 2021–2022
  10. Golden Gate Transit Guide Summer 2021
  11. Fleet
  12. Golden Gate Transit Expands Bike Carrying Capacity with New 3-Position Bike Racks
  13. Bus Fares & Payment
  14. Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (10 June 2018). "Golden Gate Transit Guide, Summer 2018". Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District.
  15. 1 2 "Commute Club Struggles to Break Even". Sonoma Patch. December 7, 2010. Archived from the original on March 23, 2012.
  16. "UCSF Distinguished Faculty Members Receive Public Service Awards" (Press release). University of California, San Francisco. May 26, 1978 via Google Books.
  17. "Chapter 11: Cross Campus Support". UCSF 2014 Long Range Development Plan (PDF). University of California, San Francisco. 2014. p. 133.
  18. 1 2 Hoban, Bill (April 1, 2014). "Commute club needs more riders". Sonoma Index-Tribune.
  19. "Sonoma/SF commute club running out of gas". Sonoma Valley Sun. December 2, 2010. Archived from the original on December 7, 2010.
  20. Moore, Derek (February 28, 2011). "Petaluma bus company rescues Sonoma Valley commuter club". The Press Democrat. Retrieved September 11, 2018.