A new 101 bus map for a revised bus system

In case you missed it, Marin Transit, in partnership with Golden Gate Transit, has made some changes to Marin’s bus system. The changes to existing routes saved enough money that they were able to add about 15,000 more service-hours to the system, meaning people around the county have better transit.

The changes inspired a second look at my 101 corridor bus guide, and the result is here.

101 Buses-Weekday 2013.08-x

Click for PDF

While the guide, technically called a “strip map,” reflects the changes to bus routes, I’ve also added non-GGT and Marin Transit routes to the map. Greyhound’s once-per-day north-south Arcata-SF service, Sonoma County Transit’s express services, and Mendocino Transit Authority’s service from Fort Bragg to Santa Rosa all made it onto the map.

It’s much less Marin-centric as a result, but no detail has been lost. Instead, Sonomans can know their options, Marinites can know their options, and all users get an expansive view of where they can go by transit in the North Bay’s 101 corridor.

This is the sort of map GGT needs to have at every bus pad and every transit center along its route. I created the original 101 bus map because I couldn’t visualize how all the lines interact and work together, nor could I tell what buses served which bus pad.

My home church, for example, is located off Smith Ranch Road, so it’s off the Lucas Valley bus pad. Since the 49 is the only bus whose schedule said it stopped at Lucas Valley, I’ll probably take it, turning what should have been a 15 minute ride into a 35 minute tour of Terra Linda.

With this map, I know I can have take the 70, 71, or 80. On a weekday evening, I might take the 44. But the 49? While it does serve the bus pad, it’s a local bus serving Terra Linda and the Civic Center, so it’s not the best idea.

A pocket version will be available in the next few weeks.

About David Edmondson
A native Marinite working in Washington, DC, I am fascinated by how one might apply smart-growth and urbanist thinking to the low-density towns of my home.

2 Responses to A new 101 bus map for a revised bus system

  1. Franz Listen says:


    Nice map. What software did you use?

    Strip maps can help people to visualize transit service in a different, and usually simplified, way and can sometimes fit very nicely into vehicle interior spaces. The down side is that information can get lost. Also, I think that if people are extremely familiar with a particular geography the mind can rebel against too much abstraction.

    Anyway, it might be interesting to add the Larkspur Ferry on the top side of the map, along with Marin Transit Routes 28 and 29 (placed right above Route 27). This might be tricky since Routes 28 and 29 connect Ross Valley, the San Rafael Transit Center and Larkspur Ferry but in different orders. I think that adding the Larkspur Ferry will highlight the relative lack of connecting bus service.

    Ultimately, SMART could be incorporated into the map as well. This will raise some questions about which rail stations qualify to be part of the bus “hubs”. In other words, what should the distance cut-off be? Downtown San Rafael and Petaluma should certainly count since they are only about 200 and 350 feet away from train platforms, respectively. What about the SMART Atherton Station and the Atherton bus pads at about 800 feet away. Does that count as a connection? Freitas Parkway and Civic Center Station at 1800 feet apart?

    Lastly, what do you think of Marin Transit’s new route map? (At least, I think its new. Not sure)

    • Thanks! I use Inkscape. Can’t afford the Adobe products, but it works well enough for my purposes.

      SMART will be incorporated once we know the bus service patterns. I thought about adding it as “under construction”, but it would be too tough now, given the limitations you mentioned.
      Regarding ferry access – I think that Larkspur ferry access should be part of a broader system map, or perhaps as a spider map. On here, I think showing ferry connections is enough, though perhaps a list of connections with times to the ferry would be useful, too. The most extensive intervention would be a very simple diagrammatic map of just Routes 22, 25, 28, 29, and 36. I’ll include something like that in the Pocket Guide, at least.

      Of course, it would be easier from a mapping and transit perspective to add bus stops under the SFD interchange. It’s possible for a bus to jump off and on the freeway, even southbound, and that would add so much necessary connectivity: 17, 36, 70, 71, and 80 would all connect.

      I presume you mean this one? Because if so, I like it! It does have some shortcomings, namely the lack of GGT routes, the lack of a key, and a small typeface. There are some design errors, too (mostly near curves), but that’s nitpicking. It is a far more user-friendly map than GGT’s, but a way to combine the two, preferably with all-day frequency, would be ideal.

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