The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority unveiled a new bus line Oct. 14 that aims to give South County commuters a faster option to San Jose.
Called the Rapid 568, the line runs weekdays from 5:30am to 7pm from the Gilroy Transit Center to Diridon Station in San Jose, every 30 minutes. It includes various stops in San Martin and Morgan Hill, as well as at San Jose State.
The line replaces the Express 168, which ran four northbound trips during both the morning and evening on the weekdays.
The fare for the 568 is $2.50, half of what the 168 cost, VTA General Manager/CEO Carolyn Gonot said.
Gonot added that the idea for the new line stemmed from feedback the VTA received from South County passengers, who said the heavily-utilized Route 68 bus, which continues to travel daily from the transit center to Diridon Station, takes too long to go to San Jose and return home, with 95 stops in both directions that often takes nearly two hours one-way.
“While it’s great for many people who need to get to those places, it’s just not the most efficient way to get from Gilroy to San Jose,” she said.
The Rapid 568, meanwhile, has 19 stops, which, depending on traffic, could take a little more than an hour to get from Gilroy to Diridon Station.
“The South County city council members, our board members, listened to their constituents and coordinated several meetings with our staff to develop the Rapid 568 idea,” Gonot said. “It will get riders to their destination much faster than the 68.”
Morgan Hill Mayor Rich Constantine said the bus will help connect local commuters to train services at Diridon Station that will allow them to travel more easily throughout the greater Bay Area.
“It is my desire to make sure we continue this work so we can increase public transportation not only in South County, but the entire region,” he said.
The Gilroy Transit Center has been in the spotlight recently, after the VTA presented a proposal that would add housing on the downtown property.
That proposal has been shelved for now, as the VTA and city officials plan to work on increasing transit services first.
Gilroy Mayor Marie Blankley said having increased public transportation options should motivate commuters to leave their cars parked at home or at the transit center, “and not parked on 101.”
“Not only do we need these kinds of connections, but we need them to be steady, frequent and reliable,” she said.
VTA officials added that it will launch a pilot program in Morgan Hill next year that will create an on-demand point-to-point service using small vehicles.
To view departure times for Rapid 568, visit vta.org/go/routes/rapid-568.