The 1X-California’s express bus was halted by the pandemic, but returns February 21, though will only run a few times a day during weekday commute hours.

Next month we head into Year Four (!) of the COVID-19 pandemic, and while most Muni bus lines have been restored, there are a few that still have not. But one of these suspended lines, the 1-California, is coming back, albeit as a very limited “pilot.” The SFMTA announced last week that the 1X-California express bus is returning to service on Tuesday, February 21.

A Tuesday is an odd day to relaunch a bus line, but the Monday prior is President's Day, so apparently SFMTA feels there would not be much need for it that day.

“Reliable and efficient transportation options are essential for our work around bringing Downtown back,” Mayor London Breed said in a press release announcing the express line’s return. “It’s good for workers who are returning to the office, and it’s good for our restaurants and shops to have more customers able to have ways to visit them. We’ve got work to do, but this is a good step in connecting the west side of our City with Downtown.”

And now the disappointing news: There will only be three of these buses for the morning commute, and three for the afternoon commute. And they’ll only run in one direction.

“Three morning express buses will depart from 33rd Avenue and Geary Boulevard at 8:00 a.m., 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.," SFMTA says in their release. “The 1X will make stops along 33rd and 32nd Avenues and California Street until Arguello Street, then express straight to Downtown.”

“Three afternoon express buses back to the Richmond will depart from Sacramento Street and Davis Street at 4:30 p.m., 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.,” the release adds.

Moreover, this is a pilot program, so we don’t even know if SFMTA will keep the 1X-California around. SFMTA says in their release that they will “assess the effectiveness of this pilot and consider adjustments to meet the needs of riders,” though they give no timeline on that decision.

Related: Muni Ridership Hits 67% of Pre-Pandemic Levels on Weekends, 54% on Weekdays [SFist]

Image: lpcmidst0128 via Wikimedia Commons