29 Sunset Bus Route Improvement Project Resumes

The SFTMA restarted 29 Sunset Improvement Project after putting it on hold for more than a year. Screen capture/SFMTA

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The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is relaunching the 29 Sunset Improvement Project to enhance the high-volume bus route.

Public outreach efforts were supposed to begin early last year, but were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a blog post on the agency’s website. Now, the agency is starting the project once again and is initially seeking public feedback on the 29 Sunset through a multi-lingual online survey.

While called the 29 Sunset, the route travels through multiple neighborhoods, including in the Ingleside, Lakeshore and Excelsior neighborhoods. The bus makes stops near several schools within a quarter mile, such as City College of San Francisco, Archbishop Riordan High School and Lick-Wilmerding High School. It carried approximately 18,800 passengers per day before the pandemic. 

The goal of the project is to reduce buses passing passengers at transit stops due to overcrowding and to improve travel time.

Hamilton Carter, who lives in the Excelsior and regularly uses the 29 Sunset, said he would like to see more service during and before school hours.

“For starters, it would be really nice if the 29 was doubled or tripled up during school commute hours,” Carter said. ‘It’s always packed then.”

Christopher Pederson, a resident in the Ingleside and regular 29 Sunset rider, said he would also like to see extra service in the mornings and afternoons when ridership is higher because of students taking the bus to and from school. 

Pederson added that he would like to see a rapid route for the 29 Sunset where the bus would not stop at every transit stop. Students from Lowell High School asked the SFMTA Board of Directors and the agency’s staff to look into the possibility of a rapid route in 2019.

Examining the addition of a rapid route is part of the project.

“We will look to stakeholders to help identify what stops should be considered for 29R service as part of the outreach process and will evaluate design options for feasibility,” SFMTA stated.

More outreach opportunities are planned so SFMTA staff can speak with all passengers who use the 29 Sunset, including youth, seniors and persons with disabilities, with a focus on the southeastern neighborhoods.

There is no date set for when route changes would be made due to many unknown factors, including funding and staffing. However, SFMTA officials said they want to have a design ready for the moment when resources become available.