The Napa Valley Transportation Authority (NVTA) conducted a study to analyze Vine Transit’s Express Bus service. The goal of that study was to evaluate existing express bus service and make operational and capital improvement recommendations to make the express bus network run more efficiently.
The ultimate objective is to better serve Napa County residents, visitors, and workers by providing rapid and reliable service to key regional destinations on the County's main travel corridors (State Route 29, State Route 12, State Route 121 & Soscol Avenue). Those destinations could include:
● El Cerrito del Norte BART station
● Vallejo Ferry Terminal
● Capitol Corridor in Suisun/Fairfield
● Future connections to the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART)
The study identified and recommended operational and capital improvements to optimize the express bus system, including route alignments, , stop locations, and infrastructure enhancements to improve travel times. NVTA Vine Transit Express Bus Study is to identify the best strategic investments to improve the Vine Transit Express Bus system, encourage new ridership and reduce overall highway congestion in Napa County.
What is an Express Bus, and what exactly is NVTA studying?
Express Bus service offers faster speeds, shorter travel times and enhanced features. How does it work? NVTA is studying these options:
● Limited or "skip-stop" service, meaning buses make fewer stops along a route (especially during peak commute hours)
● "Queue jumps" and curb extensions (bulb-outs), with street and sidewalk configurations allowing buses to bypass stopped/slow traffic
● Bus signal priority, in which buses running behind schedule trigger shorter red and/or extended green traffic lights
● Using highway shoulders for buses to bypass slower traffic
● Low-floor or multiple door buses to allow quicker entries/exits
● Off-bus fare collection, allowing travelers to purchase tickets before they board a vehicle
● Improved stations with enhanced features, such as weather-protection shelters, extra & more comfortable seating and real-time bus locator information
I thought Vine Transit already had Express Routes?
Vine Transit currently offers two (weekday only) express routes: the Napa-Solano Express (Route 21); and the Express to BART (Route 29).
Vine Transit's current express routes offer some limited "skip-stop" service for buses to make fewer stops, but lacks other features common on express buses. Vine buses on the Route 29 Express to BART, for instance, must use the same lanes on SR-29 available to regular daily traffic. When Napa County residents were asked as part of a Community Based Transportation Study why they did not use transit, the highest number of respondents said the service takes too long compared with automobiles. A viable express bus system, often more affordable for commuters than driving a car, must also be faster, more efficient and convenient for users.
So is this Bus Rapid Transit?
No. Although a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system includes many of the characteristics of an Express Bus system, there are key differences. A typical BRT system mimics a light-rail system with more frequent routes, dedicated lanes for the entire fixed-route system and larger stations -- it's been described as a "surface subway" or a "subway on streets."
How can I get involved?
Your input is an integral piece of the planning process and it is always welcomed. Although the study has concluded NVTA would like to receive any feedback on its current express bus service. NVTA conducted a survey on commute patterns for Napa County residents and workers to help guide the Express Bus study, receiving 760 responses. This survey allowed NVTA to identify ways to best align Express Bus transit service with transportation needs. Download the Survey memo for detailed information about the results, and check out this infographic for a quick summary:
What are the next steps?
Now that the study has concluded, NVTA staff will begin to prioritize projects recommended by the study.
Two improvements recommended by the study are already underway:
- The development of the Imola Avenue Park and Ride and SR 29 Express Bus Improvements and
- Services changes to Route 29, Route 21 and the creation of two new routes Route 10X and Route 11X
For more information on these services, please visit the Comprehensive Operations Analysis page HERE
For more information or questions about the project, email NVTA planner Alberto Esqueda at firstname.lastname@example.org.