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Free bus rides for Walnut Creek and Foster City shoppers could end

By dcuff
Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 at 12:55 pm in Uncategorized.

Free bus lines that shuttle Walnut Creek and Foster City riders to shopping centers and transit centers are in danger of being swept away by the financial storm buffeting cities and transit systems.

The two cities have subsidized the local bus services for years to reduce congestion and air pollution and ease parking shortages in busy areas important for producing sales tax dollars.  But in these days of tight money, free bus service is viewed as icing on the cake.  

 Click  here for the story on Walnut Creek’s free bus service between the downtown and Walnut Creek BART station.  Click here for the story about Foster City Connections Shuttle being on the chopping block during budget deliberations.

The demise of these shuttles would be depressing news in an era when city and transit planners are trying to make cities more livable and less car dependent.

Walnut Creek officials estimate that about three fourths of the store workers and shoppers who use the free shuttle are from outside the city. About 900 riders a day board the shuttle.

The fate of the Walnut Creek shuttle is still up in the air as the city and transit officials look at alternative ways of funding it, reports Contra Costa Times staff writer Elizabeth Nardi. 

Walnut Creek shuttle is the only city in Contra Costa Count to subsidize a free bus service’

Meanwhile, the city of Oakland is scheduled later this month to begin a free downtown bus service connecting Jack London Square with downtown restaurants and theaters. The first year estimated cost is  $720,000. Three downtown property groups are contributing $140,000 and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District chipping in $500,000 in clean air funds. The city is chipping in $80,000.

The free downtown Oakland shuttle service is scheduled to debut sometime this summer, said Clarence Johnson, a spokesman for AC Transit, which is being hired to run the bus service.

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