News | 511 Contra Costa

Fare-Free September: Ride Transit for Free

Enjoy fare-free rides on all County Connection, Tri Delta Transit, WestCAT, and Wheels buses during the month of September

Bay Area transit agencies are welcoming you back to transit by offering free or discounted rides during the month of September.

County Connection, Tri Delta Transit, WestCAT, and Wheels are going fare-free on all routes for the entire month. This includes Tri MyRide, Paratransit routes, and even WestCAT’s express Lynx service between Contra Costa and San Francisco.

31-Day Pass Holders: Delay activating any new 31-Day Pass until October 1 so you don’t lose any value. If you use a 31-Day Pass on Clipper, consider temporarily disabling Autoload to avoid paying during September.

Fare-Free Fridays: AC Transit

AC Transit will be offering fare-free rides on Fridays during September on all local and Transbay routes. Riders can expect to see fareboxes and Clipper card readers covered, Tempo ticket vending machines turned off, and mobile fare payment deactivated on Fridays during this time.

50% Off All Clipper Fares for September: BART

BART is offering 50% off all Clipper fares during the month of September. The discount will be automatically applied to Clipper cards when using the fare gates. All cards will receive the 50% discount, including already discounted fares like Youth, Senior, RTC, Clipper Start, and the Gator Pass.

Clipper’s online Trip Planner and Fare Calculator have been updated to show discounted fares during the month of September.

50% off All Caltrain Fares

For the month of September, Caltrain is offering 50% off all fares.

Going Electric: Webinars About EV Ownership & Incentives

If you’re considering making the switch to driving electric, Drive Clean Bay Area is hosting a series of virtual events to help you find the right electric vehicle for your budget and lifestyle.

All these events are online, free, and open to the public:

  • EV 101 – Electrify Your RIde: September 8, 16 & 21 – Learn about EV models and basics like charging and incentives.
  • EV 102 – New EV Owner Workshop: September 30 – Just made the switch to an EV? Long-time EV owners and experts make your transition to driving electric smooth.
  • Drive Clean with the League: October 16 & 20 – League of Women Voters, together with Drive Clean, co-hosts Drive Clean with the League, an educational and inspirational gathering to improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions.

If you have questions and can’t make it to one of these Zoom webinars, email Drive Clean Bay Area at info@drivecleanbayarea.org.

E-Bike Rebate: If you purchase an e-bike or have an e-bike conversion kit professionally installed, be sure to apply for a rebate from 511 Contra Costa. Rebates of up to $300 are available while supplies last. Learn more at 511cc.org/rebate.

In the U.S., an E-Bike is Purchased Every 52 Seconds

Last year, 600,000 e-bikes were sold in the United States, which works out to one e-bike sold every 52 seconds. For the majority of buyers, this isn’t about cycling as much as investing in mobility:

“Most of the e-bikes being sold are being used for transportation, not recreation. They are often replacing cars on commutes to work or to the store.”

Treehugger, “The E-Bike Spike Continues”

With a much lower price tag than an electric vehicle (EV), the e-bike is a cost-effective way to go electric, save money, and help improve air quality:

“E-bikes can offer a cheaper alternative to car travel… [and] can be useful tools for reducing CO2 emissions, urban noise, and inner city traffic. Lastly, e-bikes encourage users to cycle farther and more often than conventional bicycles.”

Study: “The E-Bike Potential

If you’re interested in buying an e-bike, 511 Contra Costa wants to help. We’re currently offering cash rebates of up to $300 on the purchase of a new e-bike. What brand of e-bike you buy and where you buy it is up to you, just be sure to save the receipt so you can apply for your rebate.

NOTE: If you purchased a new e-bike anytime after October 1, 2020 you can apply for your rebate now.

The Benefits of Using Clipper with Your Phone or Apple Watch

If you have an iPhone, Apple Watch, or Android phone, you have the option of paying your transit fare using your mobile device instead of a plastic Clipper card. To help you decide if you’re ready to move your Clipper account to your phone or smart watch, here are some of the benefits, as well as some important reminders.

If You Have Your Phone, You Have Your Clipper Card

You no longer have to worry about forgetting or losing your plastic Clipper card. If you’ve got your phone or Apple Watch, you’re ready to use Clipper.

Adding Funds Is a Snap

Adding funds to your Clipper account takes only seconds with Apple Wallet and Google Pay. It saves you the time and trouble of finding a Clipper machine or visiting a website.

Added Funds Are Available Instantly

Because your Clipper account is connected to Apple Wallet or Google Pay, when you add funds to your Clipper account, they’re available instantly.

No Need to Unlock Your Phone to Use Clipper

To pay using your phone or Apple Watch, you don’t need to unlock your phone. With an Android phone, you only need to turn your phone screen on before holding it up to the Clipper reader. If you’re using an iPhone or Apple Watch you don’t even need to do that.

Things to Know Before Setting Up Your Mobile Device

  • Plastic Card Deactivation – Once you have transferred a plastic Clipper card to your mobile device, the plastic card can no longer be used at Clipper readers. If you want to be able to use both a plastic card and your phone, you should add a new Clipper card to your phone in Apple Wallet or Google Pay.
  • Transferred Plastic Cards Still Unlock BikeLink Lockers – If you use your Clipper card to unlock BikeLink eLockers, it will still work after you’ve transferred the card to your phone.
  • Android Smart Watches Not Supported – You can use an Apple Watch to pay your fares at Clipper readers, but that option doesn’t currently exist for Android smart watches.

If you’re ready to make the switch, the Clipper website offers simple step-by-step guides which help walk you through the process of transferring a plastic Clipper card to Apple Wallet or Google Pay. For more information about using Clipper on your phone, including an extensive FAQ, visit the Clipper website.

Is Your Bike Ready to Ride? Do the ABC Quick Check

With May being bike month, you might find yourself reaching for your bike helmet instead of the car keys. An easy way to remember what to check on your bike before heading out, especially if you haven’t ridden it in a while, is ‘ABC Quick Check‘:

A – Air: Check the air in your tires. Inflate to the pressure listed on the side of the tire. Spin the wheels and check for wear. If there’s less than 1/4” of tread, it’s time for a new set.

B – Brakes: Brake levers should stop short of reaching the handlebar when pulled. Brake pads should be clean, straight, and contact the rims. You should still be able to see the pattern of grooves in the brake pads. Check coaster brakes by spinning the back wheel and pushing the pedal backward.

C – Chain: The chain should move freely, be free of rust, and lightly oiled. Pro tip: Avoid solvents like WD40 on your chain – use a lubricant instead.

Quick – Quick-release levers: If your bike has quick-release levers, make sure they are all closed.

Check – Give the bike a gentle bounce, looking and listening for anything loose: Take a slow, brief ride to check that your bike seat and handlebars are adjusted to the right height and that everything is working properly.

If your bike needs attention beyond the ABC’s, take it to a local bike shop for a thorough tune up.

For more bicycle maintenance resources and free classes, visit Bike East Bay. Also be sure to check out 511 Contra Costa’s maintenance and safe biking resources.

Clipper START – Save up to 50% on Transit

Clipper START is a pilot program which provides single-ride transit discounts on all Contra Costa transit agencies, as well as BART, SF Bay Ferry, and others. Bay Area residents age 19-64 who meet certain income requirements can apply for the program and save up to 50% on local fares.

With a Clipper START fare card, riders can receive single-fare discounts from 20% to 50%. Households of four making $53,000 or less annually qualify for the program. Learn more and apply online at clipperstartcard.com.
Note: In addition to the Clipper START program, Clipper discounts are available for seniors and people with disabilities. Some transit agencies also offer youth Clipper card fares.

New Transportation Laws for 2021

With 2021 now upon us, you should be aware of these three new laws affecting motorists:

  • Unattended children in motor vehicles: Exempts a person from civil or criminal liability for trespassing or damaging a vehicle when rescuing a child who is 6 years old or younger in immediate danger from heat, cold, lack of ventilation, or other dangerous circumstances. [Effective Jan. 1, 2021]
  • “Move Over, Slow Down” amendments: The “Move Over, Slow Down” law has been expanded to apply to local streets and roads. Drivers approaching a stationary emergency vehicle displaying emergency lights, including tow trucks and Caltrans vehicles, must move to another lane when possible, or slow to a reasonable speed on all highways, not just freeways. [Effective Jan. 1, 2021]
  • Points for distracted driving: Beginning July 1, violating the hands-free law for a second time within 36 months of a prior conviction for the same offense will result in a point being added to a driving record.

For more information on new driving-related laws taking effect in 2021, click below.

Summer Bike Challenge 2020: Announcement of Grand Prize Winners

Despite COVID, 2020 Summer Bike Challenge was a big success! We’d like to thank everyone who helped make that possible.

While so many other recreational programs, activities, and summer vacations were canceled due to COVID, we received great photos and heartwarming comments from hundreds of participants. Riders were happy and grateful for a healthy and fun program that got them outside, active, and doing something fun during these otherwise strange times.

If you didn’t get enough biking this summer, or just want to ride your bike to more places, visit our Biking page for resources and tips on how to get going. You can also find lots of bike rides and bike-related events on our Bike Events page.

All registered participants were entered in a random drawing for an iPad, with one winner per city. Read about each of the eight winners and what inspired them to get on their bikes this summer.

What Is the Summer Bike Challenge?

The Summer Bike Challenge is an annual event that encourages people of all ages to get out on their bikes to enjoy healthy, no-cost summer recreation while experiencing pollution-free transportation.

The Challenge provides participants with destination ‘bingo cards’ full of interesting places to ride with special ‘Free Stuff’ prize opportunities along the way. While COVID prevented us from hosting our usual in-person prize events, we still found a way to keep the fun going by exchanging prizes for biking selfies.

The Richmond Ferry Is a Great Way to Commute

If you live near Richmond and your workplace is in San Francisco, here’s a good question:

The Richmond ferry is back in service, and if your workplace is San Francisco it’s a great way to get to there. Regular riders talk about the comfort, convenience, and calming atmosphere of the ferry, so we took a trip on the recently reopened Richmond ferry. Below we share our experience, including photos from the trip:

Safe, Clean, and Plenty of Space

Health and safety are a key concern for commuters right now, and the Richmond ferry definitely feels safe and clean. The effects of their six-point Passenger and Crew Safety Plan were obvious when looking around the ship. All passengers and crew had masks, alternate rows of seats were taped off to ensure social distancing, hand sanitizer stations were available to passengers, and we saw surfaces being sanitized during our trip.

Photos courtesy San Francisco Bay Ferry

Quick, Pleasant Trip and Cheaper with Clipper

The trip between San Francisico and Richmond took 35 minutes from gate to gate, and it was nice to have both legroom and the ability to get up and walk around (as well as free WiFi). We didn’t visit the snack bar, but we could see the benefit of being able to grab a morning cup of coffee or evening snack.

We used our Clipper cards to pay for our trip, which meant we didn’t have to buy a ticket in advance and automatically received the Adult Clipper card fare ($7) which is a substantial savings over the cash fare ($9.30).

Getting to the Richmond Ferry Terminal

The Richmond Ferry Terminal is on the Bay Trail (1453 Harbour Way South), so you can get there easily by bike or scooter. If you don’t want to bring your bike on the ferry, there are 20 BikeLink electronic lockers available in addition to bike racks. AC Transit Line 74 can also get you to the ferry, connecting from central Richmond and the Richmond BART station.

Free parking is available for ferry customers, with 362 spaces, and spots are available on a first come, first served basis. The lot is unattended and there’s no way to find out in advance if the lot is full or near full, so keep that in mind.

Image courtesy San Francisco Bay Ferry

Bring Your Bike, Board, or Scooter with You

We didn’t bring a bike on board this time, but it’s a great option to have. Covering that first mile/last mile between the ferry terminal and your destination is snap when you have your bike, e-bike, scooter, or e-scooter with you (which are all allowed on board). We were told that space may be limited on some departures for these vehicles, so just be sure to arrive early.

More Information

We loved taking the Richmond ferry and we think you will too. If you need more information, check out SF Bay Ferry’s Rider Quick Start Guide or visit the schedule page for the Richmond Ferry.

Your Local Transit Agencies: Keeping You Safe

Thanks to the efforts of people throughout the Bay Area, we’ve been able to flatten the curve. Those people include public transit operators and riders.

Our local transit agencies implemented cleaning, boarding, and social distancing protocols to keep drivers and passengers safe, and transit users wore masks, looked out for their drivers, and limited their travel to essential trips.

Now that shelter-in-place restrictions are being relaxed, people will be making more trips. The good news is that transit is ready to get you where you need to go.

The stepped-up cleaning and disinfecting procedures transit agencies have been using will remain in effect. This way, when you return to using public transportation, you can be confident everything possible is being done to protect your health, and that of the drivers and other passengers.

We’re happy to help you plan your trip, learn about commuter incentives, and even set you up with a pre-loaded Clipper card for pledging to try transit. For more information, visit our Public Transportation page.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFPp6nFpMtM

Sustain the Improved Air Quality We’re Enjoying

If the sky seems a little bluer these days, it’s not your imagination. With significantly fewer vehicles on the road, Bay Area air quality is better now than it was two months ago. If you’re enjoying the change in the air, there are many simple things you can do to help preserve our air quality gains, even after shelter-in-place restrictions are lifted and more cars return to the road.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) estimates there’s been a 70% drop in bridge traffic, which would correlate with a 26% drop in carbon dioxide emissions and a 20% reduction in fine particulates (PM2.5). The result? Cleaner air and clearer skies.

Similar air quality improvements have been seen in cities around the world. Los Angeles, famous for its smog, enjoyed its longest run of good air quality days since 1995. The Northeastern US experienced a 30% drop in air pollution in late March while China saw pollution levels fall nearly 40% between January and February. In Delhi, India, the persistent cloud of pollution (which can normally be seen from space) cleared away to be replaced by fresh air and blue skies.

Nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) measurements from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5P satellite
Delhi, India, before and after the national lockdown

Although much of the Bay Area’s improved air quality can be attributed to eliminated commute trips, some of it is due to changes in local travel. Multiple vehicle trips are frequently being combined into single trips, and for short trips, many people have switched to walking or biking.

The uptick in cycling is so dramatic that bike shops nationwide are reporting record bike sales, and bike manufacturers are running out of inventory. In response to the increased numbers of walkers and cyclists, some cities—including San Francisco, Oakland and Alameda—have implemented Slow Streets programs, which limit vehicle through traffic on designated residential streets so people can travel easily while maintaining six feet of social distance.

A map of San Francisco’s Slow Streets program

As shelter-in-place restrictions are removed and people return to their commutes, some increase in tailpipe emissions is inevitable, but there are actions you can take on the road, at home, and at work to help preserve our improved air quality. The California Air Resources Board’s list of Simple Solutions to Reduce Air Pollution is a good resource for getting started. It includes many actions you can take, like working from home, limiting the amount of time your vehicle idles, and turning off lights when leaving a room.

Another easy way to start making air-sparing changes is by joining the Cleaner Contra Costa Challenge. With actions divided into categories like Transportation, Renter Friendly, and Easy, you’ll find things you can do which fit your lifestyle and budget. For additional encouragement, be sure to join the 511 Contra Costa Community Group after creating your Cleaner Contra Costa Challenge profile.

For more ways to contribute to cleaner air and bluer skies, explore these resources:

The 2020 Summer Bike Challenge is Here

Looking for free summer activities that are fun for the whole family? Check out 511CC’s Summer Bike Challenge.

Available in Antioch, Clayton, Concord, Martinez, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek, Pittsburg, Oakley, and Brentwood, the Challenge offers healthy fun for all ages, and the best part: it’s completely free. Participating is easy: Download a printable Challenge Card, hop on a bike, and explore your hometown. Bike to each destination and cross off squares as you go.

For safety and social distancing, we’re suspending our popular “Free Stuff!” pop-up events this summer. Instead, send us a selfie from your favorite Challenge Square destination to win a Free Stuff prize by email. Learn more.

Ready to roll? Get started here.

Bike Month 2020 Activities and Resources

Happy Bike Month! We hope you have the opportunity to get some good bike rides in during May.

To help you get the most out of your time on and off the bike, we’ve pulled together some resources and activities you might enjoy. If you know of something that might be a good addition to our list, please send it to us at hello@511cc.org.

Family Bike Activities:
If your family needs some time outside, check out our Walk & Roll Bike Month activities for fun things to do. The Family Walk & Roll Challenge is great for younger kids, and the Walk & Roll Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt will entertain people of all ages. You can even share your Bike Month fun for a chance to win prizes.

Summer Bike Challenge:
Free, fun, and open to people of all ages, the Summer Bike Challenge begins when you download your free Challenge card.

Take the 2020 Summer Bike Challenge in Antioch, Brentwood, Concord, Martinez, Oakley, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, or Walnut Creek. It’s a great way to explore your town from the seat of a bike, and from a safe distance. Online prizes and an iPad Grand Prize will be part of the fun!

Free Online Bike Classes: This month, you can take free online classes on a variety of subjects from both Bike East Bay and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. Subjects include bike theft prevention, bike camping, urban cycling, biking after dark, and basic bike maintenance. All these webinars are free—just make sure to register in advance.

Virtual BikeMobile: The Bay Area BikeMobile isn’t able to visit schools right now, so they’re hosting a number of webinars on bike maintenance and biking and walking safety. They’ve posted their full schedule, but here’s a quick look at the classes they’re offering from May 12 to May 28:

  • ABC Quick Check and Equipment – May 12
  • Bike Types, Selection, and Fit – May 12, May 13
  • Lock Up Your Bike! – May 12, May 13
  • Flat Tire Repair Clinic – May 13
  • Pedestrian Safety – May 14, May 15
  • Children Behaviors/School Traffic Issues – May 27, May 28
  • Children Behaviors, Driver Behavior Common Causes, Countermeasures, Involvement – May 27, May 28

Bike Mapper – Easily Find Your Ideal Ride Route:
Depending on the kind of ride you’re planning—exercise, grocery shopping, fresh air and sunshine—your needs might vary. Where you might want the shortest route for one trip, you might want the fewest hills or least interaction with cars for another. We created Bike Mapper to help you plan your rides with these criteria in mind.

Visit the Bike Mapper page, enter your desired start and end points, and note your preferences, and we’ll do the rest. The result will be a route map which is a good balance of what you’re looking for. Want to see it in action? Give it a try.

E-bikes Allowed on Select Contra Costa Trails: If your bike is an e-bike, that doesn’t mean you’re limited to riding on the road. Class I and II e-bikes are approved for use on many East Bay Regional Park trails: Alameda Creek Trail (paved only), Big Break Trail, Contra Costa Canal Trail, Delta De Anza Trail, George Miller Trail, Iron Horse Trail, Lafayette-Moraga Trail, and Marsh Creek Trail.

Class I and II e-bikes are ones which stop providing motor-assistance when the bicycle reaches 20 mph. Since Class III e-bikes will provide assistance up to 28 mph, they are not allowed on Park trails.

As always, when riding your bicycle on Contra Costa trails, remember to ring or call out when approaching and passing.

National Bike Challenge:
This is a fun, friendly biking challenge for social groups, individuals and businesses that runs from May through September. Participants set goals and support each other in trying to reach them.

You can set one or more one personal goals:

Groups can also set goals, which helps to build camaraderie and makes things more exciting.

Register to participate or learn more at the National Bike Challenge website.

New Transportation Laws for 2020

A number of transportation-related laws take effect on January 1, 2020. Below, we’ve highlighted those affecting most road users. To read the full text of any law, click the link to the right of the headline.

  • Bicyclists May Travel Straight Through Turn Lanes (AB 1266): Cyclists will be allowed to proceed straight through turn lanes (both right and left) at intersections, as long as the traffic light signal indicates that vehicles may travel straight through the intersection.
  • Motorized Scooters Will No Longer Require a Motorcycle License to Operate (AB 1810): In 2019, you could use an electric scooter if you had either a driver’s license or learner’s permit. However, operating other types of motorized scooters required a motorcycle (class M1 or M2) license. In 2020, no specialized license will be required for motorized scooters – a driver’s license or learner’s permit will suffice. Note: Motorized scooters cannot be ridden on sidewalks, and a helmet is required when using one.
  • Extension of Program Allowing Low-Emission Vehicles to Use HOV Lanes (AB 544) An existing program allowing low-emission and transitional zero-emission vehicles access to HOV lanes, regardless of vehicle occupancy, has been extended. In 2020, the DMV will issue orange decals to qualifying vehicles. They will be valid until January 1, 2024.
  • Illegal for Vehicle Passengers to Consume Marijuana (AB 1810): The exemption allowing passengers to consume marijuana while in a bus, limousine, taxi, pedicab, housecar or camper expires at the end of 2019. The exemption allowing passengers in these types of vehicles to drink alcohol will remain in effect.

For more laws taking effect in 2020 that affect motorists, visit the DMV website.

NOTE: Starting Oct. 1, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will require U.S. residents to have a federally approved document, like a REAL ID driver’s license or ID card, to board domestic flights. The DMV encourages Californians to apply for their REAL ID when they renew their driver’s license or at their earliest convenience. For more information, check out the FAQ for getting a REAL ID.

Transit Passes: Buy One, Get One Free

Stretch your commuting dollar by taking advantage of our ‘Buy One, Get One’ offers! 511 Contra Costa has partnered with county transit agencies to offer two-for-one deals on the following cards and passes:

  • WestCAT – 31-Day Lynx Transbay Pass
  • Tri Delta Transit – Commuter 20-Ride Pass
  • SolTrans – Monthly Pass for Routes 78 & 80
  • Fairfield & Suisun Transit – 31-day pass for SolanoExpress Green Express Line or Blue Line.

Taking advantage of the offer is easy – just download a form & apply. You’ll find application forms, including offer details, on the 511 Contra Costa Promotions Page.

511CC & the Miles App: Get Rewarded for Your Commute

511 Contra Costa and the Miles app have teamed up to help you get the most out of your commute!

Download the Miles app, and you’ll start earning points called ‘miles’ anytime you walk, bike, ride transit or take the ferry, or drive in Contra Costa and beyond. The greener your mode of travel, the more points you’ll earn!

Your miles can be converted into rewards which you choose, selecting from a wide range of products and services. A sample of companies offering Miles rewards appears at the bottom of the page.

Click either download button to get started. For more information about how the Miles app rewards points for travel, visit the Miles website.

4 Ways to Find a Carpool

Think it’s difficult to find a carpool? Not only is it easy, we’ve got four ways for you to do it:

Scoop: The Scoop app arranges ride-by-ride carpools for morning and afternoon commute periods, Monday through Friday.  Indicate your origin, destination and departure time before the pre-commute deadline, and the app will match you with one or more people headed your way.

511.org’s Ridematch Page: Create an account with 511’s Ridematch Service, and it will use your commute information to match you with a regular carpool.

Waze Carpool: With the Waze Carpool app you can choose the people you want to carpool with based on detailed profiles, star ratings, and filters like same-gender & coworkers only. As with Scoop, there is no long-term commitment – each carpool is booked separately. Unlike Scoop, Waze Carpool allows you to plan more than one commute period ahead. In fact, you can arrange your carpools for the entire week.

Connect Using Nextdoor: Nextdoor is a social networking service which allows you to easily connect with the people in your neighborhood. Once you’ve created an account, it’s easy to post to Nextdoor and ask if anyone sharing a commute similar to yours would be interested in carpooling.
For more information on carpooling, including how it can qualify you for the $25 Drive Less incentive, visit the 511CC Carpool Page.

How to ‘Casual Carpool’

Did you know you can catch a ride across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge without an app for an average cost of $1? You can! And it’s not a new service, it’s Casual Carpool – helping commuters reduce their travel time between San Francisco & the East Bay for almost 40 years.
Offering a dollar to the driver (to contribute to the $2.50 toll and gas) is just one of the ‘unspoken’ rules of Casual Carpool. Watch this short video featuring interviews with regular riders!
If you’re interested in giving it a try, click through to find a Casual Carpool pickup location convenient for you. There are locations as close to the Bridge as Oakland, Berkeley & El Cerrito, and as far out as Lafayette and Hercules.

Carpooling: Easier Than Ever (with Apps)


Is carpooling for you? Here’s a quick test: Do you dislike sitting in traffic, enjoy saving money and wouldn’t mind a little company on the drive to work? If you answered “yes”, keep reading.
Myths Debunked
“It’s hard to find people to carpool with.” Finding people to carpool with is actually easier than it’s ever been. Beyond networking with friends, neighbors & co-workers to create a traditional carpool, apps like Lyft Line, UberPOOL, Scoop and Carzac help you connect with a carpool one ride at a time with no long-term commitment. Advance planning ranges from a few hours (Scoop) to a few minutes (LyftLine, UberPOOL).
“Carpooling doesn’t offer enough flexibility.” Carpooling works best when you tailor it to your needs. You don’t have to carpool five days a week; you can carpool as much as you like. Would you like to alternate between riding and driving? That can be arranged. And if you enjoy having no long-term commitment but want to go app-free, you can always try Casual Carpool. Just remember, there’s no wrong way to carpool!

Contra Costa County Guaranteed Ride Home
Alameda County Guaranteed Ride Home
Marin County Emergency Ride Home
San Francisco County Emergency Ride Home
Santa Clara County Emergency Ride Home
Solano County Emergency Ride Home

“If I miss my carpool, I’ll be stranded.” The Guaranteed Ride Home program ensures that carpoolers (and other alternative commuters) have a ride home when the unexpected happens. In the event of a crisis, unscheduled overtime or a carpool vehicle breaking down, Guaranteed Ride Home will reimburse you for your taxi or rideshare trip home up to six times a calendar year if you’re registered in the program.

NOTE: Which Guaranteed Ride Home program you’re eligible for depends on your county of employment. For more information, click the appropriate county program in the table above.

The Benefits of Carpooling
Here are some strong arguments in favor of carpooling:

  • Faster Commute: With access to more HOV lanes in Contra Costa County, you travel faster and get to work sooner
  • Save Money: Splitting the cost of gas and tolls saves you money
  • $25 Bonus: Carpool at least once a week in Contra Costa County & you can apply for the $25 Commuter Incentive
  • Cleaner Air: Fewer cars on the road means less emissions and better air quality
  • Less Stress: Getting out from behind the wheel allows you to read, relax, or even work
  • Be Social: If you have to drive to work, why do it alone?
  • Get Happy: Studies have shown a direct link between shorter commutes and greater satisfaction with life

Ready to give carpooling a try? If you live or work in Contra Costa be sure to sign up for the $25 Commuter Incentive, then visit the 511CC Carpool page for more information on how to get started!
If you have any questions about carpooling, feel free to contact us by emailing hello@511cc.org.

Walnut Creek's Green Bike Lanes & Top US Bike Lanes (BTWD 2016)

Green bike lanes have landed in Walnut Creek just in time for Bike to Work Day! The bike lane on Olympic Blvd has been painted green on the segment between N. California and the I-680 on ramp.
Walnut Creek Olympic BlvdThe creation of green bike lanes has been on the rise in the Bay Area since San Francisco’s first green lanes on Fell Street in 2010. It’s an inexpensive way to remind motorists to stay alert for cyclists, especially when drivers have to enter the green-painted area to change lanes or make a turn.
Does the painting of bike lanes help? A report on Portland’s painted bike lanes concluded:

The percentage of motorists yielding increased to 92 percent, a 27 percent increase… The overwhelming majority [of cyclists] (76 percent) felt that the locations were safer since the installation.

Given the benefits of painted bike lanes, it’s no surprise that at least 7 of the projects that made People for Bikes‘ list of the Best New Bike Lanes feature green paint.
If you want to see what the future of bike lanes might look like (or just drool over some amazing bike infrastructure), check out People for Bikes’ America’s 10 Best New Bike Lanes of 2015.

Photos: Adam Foster, John Greenfield

Learn How You Can Help Shape the Future of West County Transportation (2016)

West County Transit Study
Is getting around West County getting harder? Is traffic on I-80 at every hour of the day getting you down? If you’re interested in providing input to the design of public transportation that works for you, join staff and other citizens at a community workshop to help shape the future of transit in West County.
The West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee (WCCTAC) is hosting a series of community workshops and an online survey to develop realistic public transportation alternatives to driving and commuting on congested roadways. Do you live in Richmond and want an express bus to see your family in Oakland? Do you live in Hercules and want BART to get you into San Francisco on workdays? These are just some of the options being considered, but policy makers need your input to decide which options will move the region one step closer to reality.
If you live, work, or travel anywhere in West County and are interested in expanding your transportation options, WCCTAC wants to hear from you! Attend the workshop closest to you or the one that works best for your schedule (the same information will be provided at each workshop). Attendees will have a chance to win pre-loaded Clipper Cards from 511 Contra Costa!
West County Community Workshops:
Tuesday, April 12
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
San Pablo City Council Chambers
13831 San Pablo Avenue, San Pablo

Add to calendar: Google | Outlook | iCal

Wednesday, April 13
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Pinole City Council Chambers
2131 Pear Street, Pinole

Add to calendar: Google | Outlook | iCal

Thursday, April 14
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Richmond City Council Chambers
440 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond

Add to calendar: Google | Outlook | iCal

If you can’t make it to one of the workshops, your option can still be heard. One week before the April meetings, WCCTAC will post a brief survey to learn more about your preferred travel methods and favorite destinations at WestCountyTransitStudy.com. Using your the public’s,  WCCTAC will determine which transit options will make it to the next stage. A second round of workshops will be held in the fall to see what the public thinks about the options that were advanced.
CCC Transit Agency & Partner logos

California State Rail Plan – Caltrans Wants Your Input (2016)

CA State Rail Plan 2018Caltrans is starting work on its 2018 Rail Plan, which will provide a framework for California’s rail network for the next 20 years. The planning process is designed to allow early stakeholder and public input – providing information through meetings and webinars and soliciting feedback via workshops, surveys, emails and online comments.
If you’d like to help shape the Rail plan, you can sign up to the email list, leave a comment on the Comments Page, or send an email to RailPlan@dot.ca.gov. For more ways to participate, visit Caltrans’ Get Involved page.
If you’d like additional information, visit the 2018 California Rail Plan website.

BIKE TO WORK DAY: THURSDAY MAY 12, 2016

Bike to Work Day is a promotional event to encourage the use of a bicycle instead of a car.

cal-red-02Add Bike To Work Day to your calendar:
iCalendar  •  Google Calendar  •  Outlook

About Bike To Work Day

On Thursday, May 12, there will be over 400 Energizer Stations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area where cyclists can stop by for refreshments and promotional items.
511 Contra Costa has supported cyclists and Energizer Station hosts throughout Contra Costa County since 2001 using Bay Area Air Quality Management District funds and the Contra Costa Transportation Authority’s half-cent sales tax for transportation funds.

Bike Commuter of the Year (BCOY)

BCOY Eric Odell 2015Bike Commuter of the Year (BCOY) award recipients are recognized for their dedication to riding their bike for everyday transportation. They are a testament to the many benefits of bicycle commuting: from improving their health to bringing families together. Nominations are accepted, evaluated and awarded by each county’s Bike to Work Day representative. Learn about 2015 BCOY award winners and their inspiring stories and see past winners from 2008-2014.
Nominate someone you know for Bike Commuter of the Year! The deadline for nominations is April 4.

tbc-logo team bike challenge btwdTeam Bike Challenge & Company Bike Challenge

Ask your friends, colleagues and neighbors to form a team with you and pedal your way to a greener, healthier and happier commute while earning points and medals! There are big prizes to be had in both Challenges, plus it’s a fun and easy way to see just how much biking does for your health, budget and the environment.

Need help planning your route?

511 Contra Costa’s Bike Mapper is the innovative and open bicycle mapping system specially designed to find flat, most direct, or fastest routes anywhere in Contra Costa County.  Read more about the 511CC Interactive Bike Mapper here, or check out our selection of free paper and online bike maps.

Contra Costa County Energizer Station Map

Coming Soon

Contra Costa County Energizer Station List

PM hours in bold
Alamo

  • Iron Horse Trail at the Alamo Trail Head, 7:00-10:00 am, RPM Mortgage

Antioch

Brentwood

Concord

  • Monument Corridor Trail across from Mohr Ln at Monument Blvd, 7:00-10:00 am & 4:00-7:00 pmCity of Concord/AssetMark
  • Front of 1371 Detroit Ave (Meadow Homes Elementary School), 7:30-8:30 am, Monument Impact
  • Front of 1135 Lacey Ln (Cambridge Elementary School), 7:30-8:30 am, Monument Impact
  • Outside Academic Services Lobby (Cal State East Bay Concord), 7:30-9:00 am & 4:30-6:00 pmCal State East Bay Concord
  • Meadow Homes Park at the corner of Detroit Ave & Sunshine Dr, 3:30-5:30 pmMonument Impact

El Cerrito

El Sobrante

Lafayette

Martinez

  • Martinez AMTRAK, 5:15-9:30 am, Richard A.
  • Bottom of Benicia Bridge, 3:30-6:30 pm, Richard A.

Moraga

Orinda

Pittsburg

Pleasant Hill

Richmond

San Pablo

San Ramon

Walnut Creek

Contra Costa County has 33 Energizer Stations this yearWant to Host an Energizer Station?

If you are interested in volunteering for Bike to Work Day or hosting an Energizer Station in Contra Costa County, please contact us!  Find other Bay Area Energizer Station coordinator contacts here.

A big THANK YOU to our local Energizer Station hosts!

Coming Soon