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Express bus to downtown SF canceled amid pandemic will return

A SF MUNI bus passes by the Powell Street BART station. | Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Express bus service from the city’s west side to Downtown will return later this month, city officials announced Friday.

The 1X California Express is coming back as a pilot program, starting at 33rd Avenue and Geary Boulevard and ending at Davis and Pine streets, making several stops inside the Richmond before cutting through the city's center to head straight into Downtown.

The express buses will operate during peak weekday hours starting on Feb. 21.

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Three morning express buses will depart from 33rd Avenue and Geary Boulevard at 8 a.m., 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m.

The 1X will make stops along 33rd Avenue, 32rd Avenue and California Street until Arguello Boulevard, then it won't stop until it reaches Downtown.

Muni and BART workers direct passengers to shuttles at Daly City BART Station on Feb. 10, 2023. | Ethan Kassel/The Standard

Three afternoon express buses back to the Richmond will depart from Sacramento and Davis streets at 4:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

The service offered during the new pilot will be similar to the suspended 1AX California A Express, with added stops on Fourth and Sixth avenues as well as Arguello Boulevard along California Street.

City officials pitched the revived line as a move to revitalize San Francisco's Downtown, with the city now facing record-high office vacancies and record-low transit ridership due to the pandemic.

"Reliable and efficient transportation options are essential for our work around bringing Downtown back,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in a press release. “It’s good for workers who are returning to the office, and it’s good for our restaurants and shops to have more customers able to have ways to visit them. We’ve got work to do, but this is a good step in connecting the westside of our City with Downtown.”  

“Buses heading Downtown from the Richmond are getting crowded as more commuters head back to the office,” San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency boss Jeffrey Tumlin said. “Express service on the 1X California [bus] will help alleviate that crowding and allow passengers to get to the Financial District more quickly.”  

The SFMTA said service for the 1X California bus is 11% quicker thanks to transit-only lanes installed on California, Clay and Sacramento streets.

The SFMTA will examine the bus service and make adjustments as it runs. The 1X updated schedule and stops are listed on the SFMTA 1X route page

Correction: The SFMTA is restoring the 1X California Express bus line—with slightly modified service—which had operated until it was suspended during the pandemic.