SolTrans

Last updated
Solano County Transit
SolTrans logo.png
SolTrans route 5 bus at Vallejo Transit Center, May 2019.JPG
SolTrans Route 5 at Vallejo Transit Center
FoundedNovember 16, 2010
Headquarters 311 Sacramento Street, Vallejo, CA
Locale Vallejo and Benicia, California
Service area Solano County, California, Contra Costa County, California
Service type bus service, paratransit
Routes16
Hubs 1
Stations3
Operator Transdev
Website www.soltrans.org

SolTrans, officially Solano County Transit, is a Joint Powers Authority that provides public transportation service to the southern Solano County cities of Vallejo and Benicia. SolTrans was established in 2011 and is the result of a merger between Vallejo Transit and Benicia Breeze. [1]

Contents

History

The origins of SolTrans lead back to the early 20th century between two independent bus companies who served southern Solano County. These two companies were eventually acquired by the cities of either of Vallejo or Benicia, before consolidating to become Solano County Transit.

Vallejo Transit

Vallejo Bus Company in the 1920s "The Vallejo Bus Co. offered bus tours of Mare Island. While the passengers did not alight from the busses, they had... - NARA - 296839.jpg
Vallejo Bus Company in the 1920s

The Vallejo Bus Company was founded by Hartley Lowell in 1919. In 1935, the Vallejo Bus Company began to change hands between a number of owners until 1949 when the City of Vallejo took control of it. [2]

However, the Vallejo City Council opted to close it in 1956 due to financial restraints. In response, community leaders led by Senator Luther Gibson created the Vallejo Citizens Transit Corporation (VCTC) in hopes of continuing services in Vallejo. The city subsequently transferred the fleet of thirteen buses to VCTC, who branded it Vallejo Transit Lines on May 1. [3]

Benicia Breeze

The Benicia-Vallejo Stage Line was founded 1915 by Milo Passalacqua. The Stage Line offered a route between Mare Island and Benicia, serving Vallejo's train stations and ferry docks. [2] In 1982, the City of Benicia began operating Benicia Dial-a-Ride, a local demand responsive transit service. Service was later expanded on July 1, 1986 to include a fixed route between Benicia and the Pleasant Hill BART station; this service was called the Benicia Bay Connection. The city also began subsidizing the Benicia-Vallejo Stage Line. On October 1, 1986, the Bay Connection and Stage Line were merged to become Benicia Transit. This new company was managed by Community Transit Services, who were eventually acquired by Laidlaw. [4] During the 1990s, Benicia Transit adds a number of additional routes, such as the Southampton Express (1991-2001) and as a few school tripper routes. It also purchase five used Gillig Phantoms for their main route and begin serving the Martinez Amtrak station between 1994 and 1997, before dedicating a route to it in 2005.

MV Transportation was awarded a contract to operate Benicia Transit in 2000, [4] who would acquire controlling interest in VCTC five years later, transforming it into an MV subsidiary. [3] In 2001, the Benicia Flyer route serving the Southampton hills operated for one year, before being discontinued due to low ridership and replaced with the Benicia Rocket, a route serving the Benicia Industrial Park. By October 2005, all named routes were converted into numbers: the main Vallejo/Pleasant Hill eventually being Route 75; the Amtrak being Route 23, and school trippers being Routes 15 through 18. 2006 saw Benicia Transit being re-branded as Benicia Breeze, replacing its dial-a-ride service into deviated fixed-routes and reducing its school tripper routes to two. [4] Route 75 was eventually retired in favor of Vallejo Transit Route 78, which extends the route to Walnut Creek. [5]

Merger

Discussions of merging the two transit agencies have occurred since 2005, however it wasn't until 2009 when a merger was seriously considered. In August, the Benicia city council reluctantly agreed with representatives of the Solano Transit Authority (STA) to study the possibility of creating a new transit agency with Vallejo Transit, citing the declining ridership and revenue caused by the Great Recession. [5] On November 16, 2010, both cities agreed to enter into a joint powers authority agreement with the STA, [6] calling the new transit agency Solano County Transit (or SolTrans for short). The name was selected out of fifteen others as it opens the possibility of other transit agencies in the county to join the agreement. [7]

In 2013, National Express Transit replaced MV as its operations contractor, followed by Transdev in July 2021. [8] [9]

Services

SolTrans provides local and express bus service to the Solano County cities of Vallejo, Benicia, and Fairfield. It also provides express bus service to the Contra Costa County communities of El Cerrito, Pleasant Hill, and Walnut Creek, providing regional connections to BART. SolTrans also provides ADA complementary paratransit within Vallejo and Benicia and General Public Dial a Ride within Benicia. [10]

Ferry service from Vallejo to San Francisco, which was operated by Vallejo Transit, is now provided by San Francisco Bay Ferry, the public operating arm of the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority [WETA]. [11]

Transit stations

SolTrans operates three transportation hubs in Vallejo.

Vallejo Transit Center

Curtola Park & Ride

Curtola Park & Ride
Curtola Park and Ride (2), May 2019.JPG
Curtola Park & Ride in May 2019
LocationCurtola Parkway at Lemon Street
Vallejo, California
Flag of the United States.svg  United States
Construction
Parking419
Disabled accessYes

The Curtola Park & Ride also known simply as Curtola is a bus station in South Vallejo, California, United States. The facility serves as a bus hub for transportation on local, commuter, and long-distance bus services.

In 2015 the bus station was upgraded for around $US10 million. [12] [13]

The station is served by SolTrans buses including local route 3 to the Glen Cove District. Line 78 provides intercity service to the Walnut Creek BART station while route 80 connects it to the El Cerrito del Norte BART station.

There is a casual carpool and vanpool area here. [14] There is also an operations and maintenance facility for SolTrans here. [15]

In 2013 some people expressed concern that parking fees may rise. [14]

Sereno Transit Center

The Sereno Transit Station is a bus station in North Vallejo.

Routes

As of July 1 2019, SolTrans operates sixteen bus routes: nine local routes and three supplemental school routes operate within the Vallejo/Benicia area, and three routes provide intercity service. [16]

RouteDestinationService notes
1BroadwayDaily service provided
2NortheastMonday thru Saturday
3South VallejoMonday thru Saturday
4TuolumneMonday thru Saturday
5FairgroundsMonday thru Saturday
6TennesseeMonday thru Saturday
7A / 7BCity LoopDaily service provided
8Glen CoveMonday thru Saturday
15Benicia Schools - Rose DrSchool days only
17Benicia Schools - HastingsSchool days only
20ColumbusMonday thru Friday
38Glen Cove - Jesse BethelSchool days only
RRed Line: I-80 ExpressDaily service provided
82San Francisco ExpressLimited weekday service [17]
YYellow Line: I-680 ExpressDaily service provided

Fleet and livery

SolTrans operates a mixed fleet of buses. When SolTrans was fully integrated in 2011, it introduced Gillig Low Floor hybrid buses for local bus service, [18] while the intercity routes continue to use MCI D4500 buses. SolTrans continues to use a small number of Orion V buses previously used by Vallejo Transit. SolTrans also makes use of small cutaway buses from Starcraft Bus and ElDorado National for Paratransit and Dial-a-ride services. All buses are bicycle and wheelchair accessible. [19]

In 2017, SolTrans introduced two new bus styles and accompanying updated paint scheme: An updated D4500 fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG); and the BYD K9M full-electric low-floor transit bus.

Related Research Articles

Interstate 780 (I-780) is an east–west auxiliary Interstate Highway in the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California. It runs from Curtola Parkway and Lemon Street in Vallejo to I-680 just north of the Benicia-Martinez Bridge in Benicia. It closely parallels the Carquinez Strait for its entire route. Originally, this segment was part of I-680 before that Interstate was extended and rerouted to Fairfield. The city-maintained Curtola Parkway continues west from I-80 to State Route 29 in Vallejo.

WestCAT

WestCAT is a public transportation service in western Contra Costa County. It is a service of the Western Contra Costa Transit Authority.

Wheels (California)

Wheels is a bus service that provides public transportation in the Tri-Valley Region of the San Francisco Bay Area, in the United States. Started in 1986, Wheels offers service to various communities in three cities, and connects to Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) trains for connections to and from the greater Bay Area and Central Valley.

SamTrans

SamTrans is a public transport agency in and around San Mateo, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. It provides bus service throughout San Mateo County and into portions of San Francisco and Palo Alto. SamTrans also operates commuter shuttles to BART stations and community shuttles. Service is largely concentrated on the east side of the Santa Cruz Mountains, and, in the central county, I-280, leaving coast-side service south of Pacifica spotty and intermittent.

Clipper card Public transit ticketing system in San Francisco Bay Area, California, United States

The Clipper card is a reloadable contactless smart card used for automated fare collection in the San Francisco Bay Area. First introduced as TransLink in 2002 by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) as a pilot program, it was rebranded in its current form on June 16, 2010. Like other transit smart cards such as the Oyster card, the Clipper card is a credit card-sized stored-value card capable of holding both cash value and transit passes for the participating transit agencies. In addition to the traditional plastic card, Clipper is available as a virtual card in Google Pay and Apple Wallet. Clipper is accepted by nearly all public transit services in the Bay Area, including Muni, BART, Caltrain, AC Transit, SamTrans, Golden Gate Transit, Golden Gate Ferry, San Francisco Bay Ferry, VTA, and many others.

Daly City station Rapid transit station in San Francisco Bay Area

Daly City station is an elevated Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station located in Daly City, California, just south of the city limits of San Francisco. It is adjacent to Interstate 280 and California Route 1, for which is serves as a park-and-ride station.

Walnut Creek station Rapid transit station in San Francisco Bay Area

Walnut Creek station is an elevated Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station in Walnut Creek, California, served by the Antioch–​SFO + Millbrae Line. The station is located north of downtown Walnut Creek, adjacent to Interstate 680 and near the Ygnacio Valley Road and California Boulevard arterial roads.

Dumbarton Express

Dumbarton Express is a regional public transit service in the San Francisco Bay Area connecting Alameda, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties via the Dumbarton Bridge. The Transbay bus service is provided under a consortium of five transit operators. Dumbarton Express is administered by AC Transit. It was also operated by AC Transit through 16 December 2011; MV Transportation assumed operations effective 19 December 2011.

El Cerrito del Norte station Rapid transit station in San Francisco Bay Area

El Cerrito del Norte station is a BART station located off Cutting Boulevard near San Pablo Avenue and Interstate 80 in El Cerrito, California. The station serves as a regional transit hub for local AC Transit bus services, and for commuter feeder services from Solano, Napa, and Marin Counties in the North Bay plus western Contra Costa County. Opened in 1973, the station was renovated in 2017–2021 to add additional elevators, stairs, and lobby space.

Transportation in the San Francisco Bay Area Overview of transportation in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, United States

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All Nighter (bus service)

The All Nighter is a night bus service network in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. Portions of the service shadow the rapid transit and commuter rail services of BART and Caltrain, which are the major rail services between San Francisco, the East Bay, the Peninsula, and San Jose. Neither BART nor Caltrain operate owl service due to overnight track maintenance; the All Nighter network helps fill in this service gap. The slogan is, "Now transit stays up as late as you do!"

Fairfield and Suisun Transit

Fairfield and Suisun Transit (FAST) provides general public fixed route bus service through eight local and two intercity/commuter routes. All FAST buses are wheelchair accessible and most are equipped with bike racks.

VINE Transit

VINE Transit is a public transportation service in Napa County, California, United States; it is managed under the Napa Valley Transportation Authority and operated by Transdev. The system offers extensive service throughout the county along with providing connections to other public transportation systems in adjacent counties.

SolanoExpress

SolanoExpress is a public transit network of regional express buses connecting Solano County, California to Contra Costa County and the Sacramento Valley. It is managed by the Solano Transportation Authority and operated by Fairfield and Suisun Transit (FAST) and SolTrans. The Solano Transportation Authority is a joint powers authority established in 1990 by Solano County and the cities of Benicia, Dixon, Fairfield, Rio Vista, Suisun City, Vacaville, and Vallejo to serve as the Congestion Management Agency for Solano County, as mandated by California law.

San Francisco Bay Ferry

San Francisco Bay Ferry is a public transit passenger ferry service in the San Francisco Bay, administered by the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA). San Francisco Bay Ferry is a different system from Golden Gate Ferry, which provides passenger ferry service from San Francisco to Marin County.

Vallejo Station

Vallejo Station is an inter-modal transit station in Vallejo, California. It is located at the western part of Central Vallejo and includes the Vallejo Ferry Terminal, a multi-story parking garage/paseo, and the Vallejo Transit Center bus station.

Placer County Transit

Placer County Transit is the operator of mass transportation for western Placer County, California, excluding the city of Roseville, which has its own public transit system. In addition to six local routes, Placer County Transit also operates the Lincoln School Tripper in Lincoln, California, a bus supplement during school days, and the Placer Commuter Express, a commuter bus service between Downtown Sacramento and the Colfax Amtrak station. In addition to their fixed route service, Placer County Transit also operates Dial-a-ride services in local communities.

The Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC) is the public sector transportation planning body for Ventura County, California. The VCTC oversees highway, bus, aviation, rail and bicycle activity and controls the use of government funds for transportation projects. The commission was created by state legislation in 1988 and began operation in 1989, when it assumed the transportation responsibilities of the Ventura County Association of Governments.

Fairfield Transportation Center

The Fairfield Transportation Center or FTC is a bus station in Fairfield, California, United States. The facility serves as a bus hub for transportation on local, commuter, and long-distance bus services. There are plans to expand the center. Casual carpooling is also practiced here.

References

  1. Rohrs, Sarah (26 July 2011). "Huge deficit already saddles merged SolTrans bus system serving Benicia and Vallejo". Vallejo Times Herald. Archived from the original on 3 August 2011. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
  2. 1 2 Kern, James E. (2004). Images of America: Vallejo. Arcadia. p. 80. ISBN   9780738529097.
  3. 1 2 Gile, Lee; Algood, Bob (January 7, 2007). "50 Years of Service". Vallejo Times Herald. ANG Newspapers.
  4. 1 2 3 "Timeline of Benicia Breeze: 1982 to Present" (PDF). City of Benicia. 16 January 2008. pp. VII-G-6. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  5. 1 2 Burchyns, Tony (24 August 2009). "Benicia fears likely merger of bus systems". Vallejo Times-Herald. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  6. Weilenman, Donna Beth (18 November 2010). "'SolTrans' gets Benicia's OK". Benicia Herald. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  7. Weilenman, Donna Beth (4 November 2010). "3-way pact may boost bus funding". Benicia Herald. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  8. "SolTrans chooses National Express to run buses". Daily Republic. 22 March 2013. Retrieved 2015-05-25.
  9. Transdev Extends Operations in California Metro June 30, 2021
  10. "Dial-A-Ride Bus Service". SolTrans. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  11. SB 976: San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority
  12. "Vallejo's Curtola Park & Ride ribbon cutting held Wednesday". timesheraldonline.com. 19 November 2006. Retrieved 2017-08-10.
  13. "Curtola parking lot readying for upgrade". timesheraldonline.com. Retrieved 2017-08-10.
  14. 1 2 "Vallejo's Curtola Park & Ride Hub hopefully to be fully functional by mid-January". timesheraldonline.com. 19 November 2006. Retrieved 2017-08-10.
  15. "Dignitaries assemble to see Vallejo's new SolTrans facility". timesheraldonline.com. Retrieved 2017-08-10.
  16. "Routes". SolTrans. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  17. http://www.mtc.ca.gov/news/current_topics/8-11/soltrans.htm
  18. Motor Bus Society, Convention Report, Spring 2005. April 18, 2005