New VTA ads highlight expanded service El Camino Real

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) began longer hours during the week and Sunday service on the popular 522 “Rapid” bus line, which connects East San Jose to Palo Alto along Alum Rock Avenue, Santa Clara Street, The Alameda, and El Camino Real.

The 522 bus now runs until 10:30 PM during the week and Saturdays, with 15 minute headways until 6 PM, and 20 to 30 minute headways after that. The new Sunday service runs every 15 minutes from 9 AM until 6 PM.

VTA 522 rapid route map

VTA released a pair of ads highlighting the freedom available for people who use VTA public transportation. The “bro” video mentions the freedom from traffic, parking hassles, and driving.

The “girls just want to have fun” version talks about easy mobility for shopping, concerts, games, school, and, oh yeah, shopping (again).

This “Rapid” bus augments the 22 bus line, which follows the same route. Queue jumping lanes allow Rapid 522 buses to bypass traffic at congested intersection in Palo Alto. Traffic signal priority and fewer stops on the 522 allows passengers to make the trip across Santa Clara County more quickly than riding the 22. People traveling from downtown San Jose to Palo Alto University Avenue for example, can save about 20 minutes by using the 522 instead of the 22.

Fare on the 522 is the same as other VTA local fare: $2 single ride, $6 day pass, or $70 monthly pass. Your Caltrain monthly pass on Clipper with two or more zones is also good for all local VTA routes.

One of my frist bike videos, incidentally, shows me racing the 22 and 522 down El Camino Real on my bicycle from Cahill Street to University Avenue. The 22, which stops at every other block, is easy to beat by bike. The 522, which stops once every mile or so, isn’t so easy to beat. “Priority traffic signals” means a green light on El Camino Real stays green just long enough for the bus to get into the intersection. If you’re much more than a couple of car lengths behind the bus, you’re stuck at the red light and you’ve lost the race.

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