Presidio of San Francisco (November 18, 2008) -- The Presidio Trust is getting three new alternative fuel busses for its free PresidiGo Shuttle fleet, thanks to an $840,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration's Alternative Transportation in Parks and Public Lands (ATPPL) Program. The new buses, powered by natural gas, will augment and ultimately replace an aging fleet that strains to meet the needs of the growing park community.
"This grant allows us to increase the capacity of the free PresidiGo Shuttle service for park residents, employees, and visitors in an environmentally-friendly way," says Mark Helmbrecht, Transportation Program Manager for the Presidio Trust. "Our new busses will be at least 50% larger than the current fleet, providing more seating. They will also be quieter, more reliable, and ride more smoothly."
The grant was awarded last month, and it will take several months for the grant-funded vehicles to arrive. In the meantime, the Presidio Trust purchased a new bus last year which is now in service; another will be added in July. These two buses provide a glimpse of how the additional buses will enhance the existing service.
The PresidiGo Shuttle is a free bus service that makes it easy for employees, residents and visitors to get around the park. The shuttle operates seven days a week and serves more than 40 destinations within the Presidio - from Baker Beach to Crissy Field to the park's residential neighborhoods. The system connects with MUNI and Golden Gate Transit at several stops and offers racks for bicyclists. Two years ago, the Presidio Trust added a weekday commuter "downtown" route connecting those who live or work in the park with BART, the Transbay Terminal, and CalTrain. The popular PreisidiGo Downtown shuttle has steadily risen in popularity, taking hundreds of cars off the roads.
Shuttle ridership has grown rapidly, averaging 1,246 riders per day during the week, a 22% increase from the same time last year. In October, weekday ridership topped 30,000 for the first time ever -- an average of almost 1,400 per day, up 35% from October 2007.
The shuttle is just one part of the Presidio's comprehensive transportation plan which uses environmentally responsible strategies aimed at increasing the use and availability of public transit, pedestrian, and bicycle options making it easier for people to get around the park without a car. The park also supports carpools, commuter checks, and a guaranteed ride home program.
The Alternative Transportation in Parks and Public Lands program funds capital and planning expenses for alternative transportation systems in parks and public lands nation-wide. The Federal Transit Administration awarded $25 million to 52 projects nationwide in a competitive process to support alternative transportation in parks and public lands. A total of 84 applicants requested $55.2 million under the program, more than twice the amount available for projects.
In addition to the Trust, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) received more than one million dollars for several projects including transit improvements to Muir Woods and a parking management program that will ultimately generate revenue to help the GGNRA meet its transit and shuttle needs.
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to oversee the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The 1,500-acre site contains expansive open space and spectacular views, a 300-acre historic forest, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. It also comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to its status as a National Historic Landmark District."