Sunday, April 01, 2007

VTA's Comprehensive Operations Analysis

Since last year, VTA has hired outside consultants to examine VTA's transit operation. The VTA staff has recently presented the draft transit service operating plan to the VTA Transit Planning and Operations Committee and will also present it to the VTA board for discussion this Thursday.

The proposal will result in a 10-12% reduction on vehicles during the peak hours, but a 4.7% increase midday and 5.2% increase Sunday. The presentation says the operating hours are equivalent. The maximum vehicle requirement is 308 buses during the afternoon peak hours.

Highlights pulled from the COA presentation and memo to the Transit Planning and Operations Committee:

Routes 23, 25, 26, 55, 57, 60, 64, 66, 79, 71, 72, 73, and 77 will have improved frequency. Routes 27, 46, 54, 63, and 82 will see improved midday frequency. 65 will have reduced frequency.

10- Cut service to airport employee lot
22- Cut service between Menlo Park and Palo Alto
23- Service between De Anza College and East San Jose via Alum Rock east of downtown SJ, and improve frequency to every 12 minutes
26- Operate short line service on the eastern portion
27- Cut service west of Good Samaritan Hospital
31- Cut service north of Eastridge
33- Cut service between McCarthy Ranch and Baypointe
35- Cut service between Palo Alto Caltrain and Stanford Shopping Center
52- Reroute to cover San Antonio Shopping Center and use the current 23 alignment to Foothill College
53- Cut service south of De Anza (according to maps)
54- Cut service south of De Anza
55- Change routing to interline with 54, cut service south of De Anza

57- Adding short runs between Bowers and West Valley College
60- Adding short runs between Santa Clara Caltrain and Winchester LRT
61- New route to using 62 alignment along Bascom and use 36 alignment to East San Jose, to be interlined with current route 62.
63- Cut service south of Coleman, end at Almaden LRT

64- Reroute eastern portion to run on McKee
65- Cut service between Fruitdale light rail and Downtown San Jose, as well as south of Hwy 85
77- Cut service north of Great Mall
81-Operate between Downtown SJ and Vallco only, eastern portion to be replaced by line 64
82- Cut service north of Downtown San Jose

Express routes
101, 104, 122, 140, and 305 will be eliminated
103, 321, and 330 service reduced
180- increase service to every 15 minutes midday (appears to discontinue Milpitas-Downtown SJ segment during peak hours due to reduced peak vehicle requirements)
181 (new) - direct peak hour service between Fremont BART and Downtown San Jose, 15 minute frequency
168 (new) - Gilroy-Downtown San Jose Express via 101, 85, and 87, 30 minute frequency during peak hours

The goal of the re-arranged service to BART is to meet every BART train.

Community routes (that will be operated by VTA drivers in-house using shuttle buses)
11- New route serving Downtown San Jose, Japantown, and the Market Center on Coleman
13- Convert from regular bus, replacement 63 south of Coleman
All bus routes that serves locally in Gilroy and Morgan Hill will be converted to shuttle buses.
32- Convert
34- Convert
40- Convert
42- (new) Replace route 72 south of Monterey and Senter
43- (new) Alum Rock LRT-Eastridge, in service only when 522 is not running
45- (new) Replace current 64 between Penitencia Creek and Alum Rock LRT
88- Convert and serve between California Ave and San Antonio Shopping Center
All contracted light rail shuttles will be brought in-house

Routes that would be discontinued: 36, 37, 38, 39, 44, 58, 59, 67, 76, and 85
58- Service to Alviso will be covered by River Oaks Shuttle
36- Eastern portion would be replaced by 61

Overall, the biggest losers are Los Altos, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Almaden (San Jose), and foothills of Evergreen (San Jose). The biggest winner is Downtown San Jose with the new express service to Gilroy and Fremont (direct) even though it will lose 65 and 85.

The Santa Clara Street corridor will have on average 6 minute headway for local service with 22 and enhanced 23. VTA plans to provide rapid service (523) for the 23 corridor in the future, providing a higher level of rapid bus service between Downtown San Jose and Alum rock Light rail. How would this arrangement interface with Downtown-East Valley project? Is light rail no longer preferred or even viable on the Santa Clara Street corridor?


Nick said...

Where did you find this information? This info is extremely useful, but some of the changes are difficult to understand.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking that among other things, this is an attempt to boost ridership numbers between Fremont BART and downtown San Jose. Also I really believe any light rail expansion along Alum Rock/Santa Clara is gone, done in by the BART extension which would come down Alum Rock.
As far as the BART extension goes, it is still Full Steam Ahead. Sunday night saw core drilling on Santa Clara Street between 1st and 2nd, to obtain core samples prior to start of construction. Pre-engineering is said to be 65% complete.

Anonymous said...

I should have put this in the last comment; forgot.

As far as "outside consultants" and some of the proposed changes go, I believe (but cannot prove) that at some point after the consultants got a contract for the study, someone at the consultants called VTA, and the conversation started with something like "what do you want the report to show?"

It goes to show how cynical I have become. For example, there is no way the consultants could have found actual demand for the increased BART service to San Jose, or even the Great Mall for that matter. Just look at the passenger loads on the 180 coaches.

accountablevta said...

According to the VTA documents, the direct Fremont-San Jose service was requested by San Jose State University.

Back in 2000, VTA was supposed to connect San Jose and BART via commuter rail, but they abandoned that project in favor of BART extension. At that time, VTA proposed a series of express bus lines, including a direct Fremont-Downtown San Jose line, as a replacement for the commuter rail project. But for various reasons the bus improvements were not implemented. In fact, VTA gave up state funding to buy commuter buses that could be used for that service.

By any means, the transit service between the East Bay and San Jose needs to be improved. What the COA shows is that VTA can vastly improve transit in the corridor without having to spend $5-7 billion and without substantially adding operating cost.

Jason S said...

So.. wow!! Where did you find this information from? Source? I'm really excited to hear of a direct Fremont BART to San Jose line 181 and a rapid bus on the 23 line. 23 from downtown SJ to Cupertino takes way too long. I feel bad that some of the lines will be cut though. VTA has only limited funds and I agree that this valley is too spread out to serve everybody. Besides, for example, I think those people who live on or near lines 37 Hillsdale and 38 Branham can afford to drive and taking transit for them would require too many tranfers to get anywhere in a decent amount of time. I don't mean on offending anyone, but I would like VTA to serve the lower-income folks first since they are transit dependent rather than those who ride it once in a blue moon.

Anonymous said...

I believe the changes to the Fremont BART area are the result of analysis of that population and the traffic coming into the Valley on 880 and 680 out of that area. It is a good growth market for ridership (commuters and students). Also, the 140 and 120 are being combined to one line that will use I-880 instead of 680 to First and Tasman to make the trip faster (they aren't being eliminated, just combined). The new Express 181 will also go down I-880 direct to downtown SJ, avoiding 680 and Great Mall for a faster and more direct trip (880 will have commute lanes in both directions unlike 680).

accountablevta said...

The information was a part of the Transit Planning and Operation Committee meeting packet. One of the documents are also on the web as a part of the board packet. A map showing the proposed service can be found on the VTA Riders' Union web site.

Anonymous said...

Is the VTA watch newsletter correct or the VTA rider's union web site? They are not consistent

The VTA watch newsletter indicates:

27- Cut service east of Good Samaritan Hospital

but the VTA rider's union web site

27 - Route would only operate between Santa Theresa and Good Sam. Hospital

which is a cut of service west of Good Sam.

accountablevta said...

There's a typo in the information. The plan is to cut service west of Good Samaritian Hospital and run only between the Good Samaritian and Santa Teresa Hospital.

Winston said...

I know it's a bit late to post a comment on this post, but I would like to point out that upgrading the 180 and adding the 181 caused a 35% increase in ridership between Fremont and San Jose (2310 daily riders in 2008 vs. 1706 riders in 2007)