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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
“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
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. The 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.
A redesign for the I-80/San Pablo Dam Road interchange is in the works! The project will add roadway capacity, create a safer crossing for pedestrians and bicyclists, and improve the I-80 ramps at El Portal Drive and McBryde Avenue.
The project is a collaboration between the Contra Costa Transportation Authority & City of San Pablo. For more information, click here or watch the video below.
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.
Caltrans 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.
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
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
On Presidents Day (Monday, February 15), some transit agencies will run on regular weekday schedules while others will run on holiday schedules. We’ve collected all the schedules for easy reference. Click any link below for additional schedule information.
511 Contra Costa has teamed up with Tri Delta Transit to offer East County commuters a free 20-Ride pass!
You’re eligible for the pass if you:
Commute to and from work
Are 18 years of age or older
Live or work in East Contra Costa
Have access to a car & would drive alone if Tri Delta Transit were not available, and
Agree to complete a follow-up survey
If you meet the requirements, requesting a free 20-Ride pass is as simple as filling out this online form. After that, Tri Delta Transit will send you a free 20-Ride pass (while supplies last).*
Time is of the essence! This offer expires February 14. Passes will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, so apply today!
*Applicants must meet all eligibility requirements and observe all program rules in order to receive a free pass. Ineligible or incomplete applications will not be processed. Completing the application does not guarantee receipt of a free pass. Passes not valid on paratransit buses (Dial-a-Ride).
If you live in or near Lafayette, help your teen be a safer driver by bringing them to the CHP’s Start Smart program on February 18! This two-hour driver safety class at Acalanes High School is for new and future licensed teenage drivers and their parents. All are invited to attend! Presented by the California Highway Patrol, and Acalanes High School, the event is free but registration is requested. Click here to register.
The class will be held at Acalanes High School (at 1200 Pleasant Hill Rd) in Lafayette from 7-9pm.
On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Monday, January 18), some transit agencies will run on regular weekday schedules while others will run on holiday schedules. We’ve collected the transit schedules for easy reference. Click any link below for additional schedule information.
As part of a Federal spending-and-tax bill which was passed in December, this year commuters will be able to set aside up to $255 per month in pre-tax dollars to pay for public transportation.
Not only is this a substantial increase over last year’s pre-tax transit benefit ($130), but now the benefit to transit commuters is equal to the parking benefit offered to commuters who drive. The new law also guarantees that the two benefits will remain equal in the future.