Part 4:

Public Transit Options in Walnut Creek

BART, local buses and express buses all serve Walnut Creek, and the Walnut Creek BART Station is a regional transit hub for Contra Costa County. On an average weekday, over 10,000 people use buses and BART to travel to, from and within Walnut Creek. The community of Rossmoor also provides shuttle services for its residents to key destinations in the city. When transit services are direct and frequent, they are well-utilized by people traveling to, from and within Walnut Creek.

 Bus and Shuttle Service in Walnut Creek

Walnut Creek is served by 10 County Connection local routes and 5 County Connection express routes. Additionally, Wheels Express Route 70X provides service between the Walnut Creek BART Station and the City of Dublin, and SolTrans Yellow Line provides express bus service between the Vallejo Transit Center and the Walnut Creek BART Station. The following map shows the locations of these routes and their frequencies. In addition to these routes, Rossmoor provides shuttles for its residents during weekdays and on request. 

Routes 5, 4, and 7 have the highest number of average weekday boardings. This is due in large part to the fact that these routes are free, they connect higher density residential, commercial and employment areas to BART, and they provide relatively frequent, direct service.

Due to relatively low frequencies on many bus routes and limited pedestrian connectivity around some bus stops, the places that one can travel via public buses within 15 to 30 minutes is limited

The following maps show where one can travel by bus transit and walking within 15, 30, 45, and 60 minutes. Both bus frequency and travel time is accounted for.

Travel distances by bus and walking from Kaiser Medical Center within 15, 30, 45, and 60 minutes

Source: Remix and Fehr & Peers, 2018

Travel distances by bus and walking from Downtown Walnut Creek within 15, 30, 45, and 60 minutes

Travel distances by bus and walking from the Walnut Creek BART Station Transit Center within 15, 30, 45, and 60 minutes

 BART Service

Walnut Creek is served by two BART stations: the Walnut Creek and the Pleasant Hill/Contra Costa Centre Stations. At the Walnut Creek Station, nearly 7,000 people per day ride BART on weekdays, and between 2,000 and 3,000 people per day use BART to travel to or from Walnut Creek on weekends. Nearly 80% of people are traveling to work on weekdays,1 and most (about 60 percent) of them are exiting at stations in San Francisco.2

The Pleasant Hill/Contra Costa Centre and Walnut Creek Stations have the highest ridership on the Pittsburg Baypoint (now Antioch) BART line. Ridership at both stations has grown continuously over the past ten years, although ridership at the Walnut Creek Station has recently dropped.

Walnut Creek residents make up the majority of BART riders entering the Walnut Creek Station during the week, and a little less than half the riders at the Pleasant Hill/Contra Costa Center Station.

About half of riders are driving from home to the Walnut Creek BART station on weekdays, about a third are dropped off, and less than 20 percent bike or walk. The percentage of riders who bike or walk to the Pleasant Hill/Contra Costa Centre Station is higher.

Almost half of those traveling to Walnut Creek from elsewhere walk to their final destination from BART. About 20 percent are picked up in a vehicle, and 16% use a bus or shuttle to reach their final destination.

Many people who live outside Walnut Creek use BART to travel to the City (or other destinations outside Walnut Creek) for work and other types of trips. While the majority of this travel is work-related, 24 percent of BART riders traveling to Walnut Creek come for shopping, dining, and other social or recreational trips. 

 Needs, Opportunities, and Challenges

When transit service is frequent, direct, and low-cost, people use it.

As shown by the high ridership on County Connection Routes 4, 5, and 7, when transit service is direct, frequent, and free, people use it. Increasing frequency on existing routes or expanding free transit services to other areas of the city could shift some automobile trips to transit. However, additional funding will be needed to accomplish this. In addition, employer-provided transit subsidies or parking cash-out programs for employees who use transit instead of drive and park could further increase transit ridership.

The city has strong agency partnerships.

Walnut Creek has established a successful partnership with County Connection. Both the city and transit agency can continue to build on this relationship to provide bus transit service that meets the needs of both the city and County Connection, and to secure additional resources for improved frequencies and/or additional service to new development.

There is a need to improve bicycling and pedestrian access to BART.

More people are walking and bicycling to the Walnut Creek BART station than they were in 2008, when BART last conducted a survey of its passengers. However, there are opportunities to further increase the number of people walking and bicycling to the station by improving bicycle and pedestrian access. Providing direct pedestrian and cycling routes to the BART station that are both safe and inviting will enable more people to walk and bicycle to the station, as well as from the station to Downtown and other nearby destinations.