Hustle to the shuttle

Illustration by Brittany England

Illustration by Brittany England

Vanessa Pineda ,
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The City of Hayward has proposed the launch of a new shuttle service that would connect people living, working, or going to school in Hayward to various neighborhoods and BART stations in Hayward.

Hayward’s Department of Transportation is conducting a study to find out if a shuttle service is a feasible option for the city. The study will evaluate how many shuttle routes are needed, how many stops will be added, and how often the shuttle will run.

“The west industrial area, west of 880, is the biggest employment area of Hayward,” said Steven Chang, transportation planner for the City of Hayward Public Works. “Historically there is very little transit to that area, there is maybe one AC Transit route hourly. Basically we have been hearing from employers over the last few years that there are not enough transit services for employees, especially ones that connect to BART.”

Hayward was given a $350,000 Caltrans grant, and earlier this year Hayward City Council approved an 11.47 percent match to fund the study, according to the California Department of Transportation. The study is broken down into research of two different areas in Hayward, residential area and industrial.

“We are looking at areas that are underserved by AC Transit. They’ve actually cut back some services in Hayward over they years we are just trying to fill in the gaps,” said Chang.

To help conduct the study, a survey has been sent home to Hayward residents and Hayward business owners to give to their employees. The survey will help the shuttle’s project team understand the needs of residents and business owners in regards to public transportation. The survey asks questions like what times residents would want the shuttle to run, how often residents go into downtown Hayward and if a shuttle would help with parking difficulties.

In late July, Hayward hosted an outreach event in the Industrial corridor, near Life Chiropractic College. The goal of the event was to hear from employees and business owners about what they need from public transportation. At the event, a map of Hayward was printed out and attendees took pushpins, to mark where they would like routes added to the city.

“[The event] was very positive. People told us that they have been wanting a shuttle services for two years, but haven’t been able get one and they are happy that the city is picking it up,” explained Chang.

The city will also look at working with Cal State East Bay’s shuttle system and expanding it to other locations like Southland Mall. CSUEB and AC Transit both sit on the advisory committee for the study.

There are no final details on what the shuttle will look like and the initial study will conclude in April 2016. According to Chang, once the first study concludes and it finds the shuttle system feasible a second study will be conducted to determine the exact specifics of the shuttle, after that is when they will break ground on implementing the system.

“We actually don’t know who is operating the shuttle yet,” said Chang. “We are just trying to figure out if we can do it.”

To take the online survey about the shuttle system, visit www.resident.haywardshuttlesurvey.com.

Editor-in-Chief Shannon Stroud contributed to this article.