Regional Express (ReX) Transit Network would Dramatically Improve Bay Area Transportation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 17, 2019
Contact: Edie Irons, eirons@transformca.org, 510-334-1344

OAKLAND, CA - Today TransForm released the details behind their groundbreaking proposal for a Regional Express (ReX) Transit Network to help address the Bay Area’s transportation problems. The ReX Network would provide frequent service using freeway express lanes with travel times faster than driving at peak hours and clean, attractive stations.

“ReX is the transportation solution the Bay Area has been waiting for, and it’s within our reach,” said Chris Lepe, Regional Policy Director at TransForm. “It will fill the gaps and improve connections in our current transportation system so that many more people can take transit to many more places quickly, conveniently, and affordably. This is the level of creativity needed to deal with the magnitude of our transportation, equity, and climate crises.”

The ReX Transit Network is designed to provide the kind of transit service that research shows people — both current and potential riders — want.

  • Fast travel times - faster than driving a solo vehicle at peak times.
  • Frequent service - no need to look at a schedule! ReX Express Routes operate every 5 minutes during peak hours and 10 minutes off-peak.
  • Convenient locations - Many ReX stations are integrated with other transit stations (making transfers easy), and are also near jobs, shopping, medical centers, colleges, and more — including destinations not well served by existing rapid or regional transit.
  • Clean, safe, attractive facilities - Station design emphasizes protection from the elements and moving vehicles, with Hubs also offering retail and food options.

The ReX concept stemmed from a joint proposal from TransForm and SPUR to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) to rethink the future our our highways. It was one of six “Transformative Transportation Projects” chosen by MTC as part of its Horizon initiative for study and potential inclusion in Plan Bay Area 2050. TransForm’s 200-page report, ReX: Connecting the Bay Area with a Regional Express Transit Network, describes the transit element that emerged from the Horizon proposal in detail.

There is strong demand for regional express transit service in the Bay Area.

  • SamTrans recently expanded its express bus service on Highway 101, which practically exceeded ridership expectations overnight.
  • AC Transit’s Transbay service has seen a 25% increase in ridership over the last five years.
  • According to MTC’s Shuttle Census, 35 private shuttle operators carried over 9.6 million passengers in 2014 alone. Taken as a whole, these private shuttles would represent the Bay Area’s seventh largest transit system in terms of ridership.

Unlike these express bus services though, ReX is designed to be a truly integrated regional network, including rail-like vehicles and stations with local connections and fast, reliable service built on a proposed expanded network of express lanes.

According to MTC’s Managed Lanes Implementation Survey, 45% of the Bay Area commuters surveyed said they would use an express bus if it was five minutes faster than driving. If it was ten minutes faster, 55% said they would. The ReX system would exceed those time savings at peak hours. For example, a trip from the East Palo Alto ReX Hub to the Oakland Coliseum station would take 44 minutes during peak hours, more than twice as fast as a typical commute by car today. A trip to the Cupertino station from the Palo Alto Hub would take 22 minutes on ReX, compared to 65 minutes in today’s typical traffic.

ReX can be implemented relatively cost effectively, quickly, and flexibly, with improvements phased in based on demand, feasibility, political will, and other factors. Next steps for ReX include MTC’s modeling and assessment for Plan Bay Area 2050, potential inclusion in a regional transportation funding measure on the ballot as early as 2020, and a multi-faceted outreach process across the region to get input from potential riders, destinations, transit agencies, local governments, and other stakeholders.

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Quotes and contact info from stakeholders around the Bay Area who are prepared to discuss ReX are available upon request. Contact Edie Irons at eirons@transformca.org.