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Community Benefits Expected from
MST’s SURF! Busway

The MST Board of Directors approved the SURF! Busway and Bus Rapid Transit Project in July, supporting a proposed six-mile, transit-only route that would connect Salinas, Marina, Seaside, Sand City, Monterey, and Pacific Grove – while also providing an efficient link to connecting service across the MST network. Residents and visitors will also enjoy 1 mile of new bicycle trail connections and improvements to the Monterey Bay Recreational Trail.

MST will refine preliminary design plans and continue meeting with local stakeholders and community members to move the project forward. The agency hopes to start SURF! construction in 2025.

Here’s what the busway would mean for Monterey County:

Environment

544,582 fewer passenger vehicle trips per year.

A 1,283-metric-ton reduction in CO2e (greenhouse gases). That equals the electricity used by 858 homes per year.

Less noise pollution. Zero emission buses will use the SURF! busway which are 40 to 50% quieter than diesel buses.

Fewer microplastics in the Monterey Bay. Reducing vehicle traffic decreases the microplastics that slough off car tires and cause pollution.

A boost for transit-oriented development. Efficient transit opens opportunities for car-free housing, grant opportunities, and increased access to offices, shops, schools and more.

Economy

An economic driver. Every $1 invested in transportation generates a $5 return. That’s an estimated $250 million return on $50 million SURF! construction.

New jobs. Every $1 million investment in transportation creates 13 jobs. The 650 projected SURF! jobs include construction roles and permanent openings for MST drivers, mechanics, customer service professionals and others.

Real savings. Residents and essential workers can save money and shorten commute times by taking the bus to work.

Lower construction costs. Building a dedicated SURF! busway costs less than widening existing roads and highways or passenger rail.

Equity

Improved access. SURF! routes enhance service for those who depend on transit, including parts of the county where 70% of residents identify as non-White or of Hispanic origin.

Decreased costs for those in need. The average MST riders annual household income is less than $20,000 annually, and 14% live in poverty.

Enhanced mobility. MST welcomes many people who can’t drive, including some individuals with disabilities, veterans and older passengers. Seniors make up 14% of MST’s ridership.

Expanded equity. Faster, safer, more efficient service cuts travel time and increases opportunities for students and those without a car or who cannot drive.

Education

School connections. The SURF! line improves access to CSUMB, Hartnell College and MPC – Marina center. Buses using the route also serve primary and secondary schools.

Savings for students. Easy transit access to educational institutions benefits students and families living on fixed incomes, plus teachers, staff and administrators.

“We’ve been talking a lot about addressing injustices and expanding social equity in this country. MST estimates that a quarter of Monterey County’s residents will be directly served by the SURF! Busway, or by a connecting route, as they travel to essential jobs, school, medical care and daily activities.”
– Lisa Rheinheimer, MST Assistant General Manager