Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A new day

With the election of Chuck Reed as the mayor of San Jose, let's hope that it is the end of Gonzales-style backroom politics and last-minute memos at VTA.


Mike Laursen said...

Off topic, but you seem to be someone who can answer some questions I have about the VTA:

1. What acts of legislation give the VTA its authority?

2. Has the VTA been granted a monopoly over bus and taxi service in Santa Clara County? If someone wanted to start a new bus, shuttle, or taxi service, what would they have to do?

Thanks for any information you can point me to...

Mike Laursen said...

Oh, by the way ... on topic ... great news that Chuck Reed won the mayoral race!

accountablevta said...

To answer your questions:

A state law granted VTA the authority probably in 1995/1996. There was actually another transit district governed by the County before that. That the law did was to consolidate transit operation with highway planning and congestion management into a single authority, and to change the goverance structure to include representation from cities.

I don't think VTA has a monopoly per se, since the original district was started in the 70s when transit was already a money-losing business. VTA allows other transit operators (SamTrans, Dumbarton Express, Highway 17 Express, and Monterey-Salinas Transit) to pick up local passengers in VTA areas (partly because VTA financially sponsors some of the service), which some agencies like San Francisco and AC Transit prohibit because of union opposition.

VTA is generally not a barrier for private competition. Other government agencies and airports are more of a barrier. Taxis are regulated by the cities themselves and not VTA or the county, although I think it would be better if it is.