Thursday, August 30, 2007

VTA approves the COA plan

By unanimous vote, the VTA board approved the implementation of the COA plan in January 2008, while committing to work with Palo Alto to develop a separate service plan by the end of this year.

While the meeting was scheduled at 5:30pm, the board did not discuss the COA until 7:30pm, when board chair Dean Chu decided to skip some items on the agenda to the COA. Prior to the COA, the board spent a significant amount of time debating on whether to change the bylaws of the Policy Advisory Committee. The poorly ordered agenda forced the audience to wait two hours for the opportunity to address the board. Although the General Manager Michael Burns could stay in a local hotel at VTA's expense for the night, others have no choice but to wait for the increasingly infrequent transit service as the night went on.

Overall, more than 20 people spoke. Besides some general comments regarding the COA as a whole, most public comments centered around the service reduction in Palo Alto and the elimination of line 22 in Menlo Park. Both mayors of Palo Alto and Menlo Park were present to express their concerns. Although some board members were sympathetic to these two cities, they felt that the COA would be beneficial overall to the entire system. Before the public comments, some member questioned about access to the Valley Medical Center, given the proposed elimination of route 85. In response, VTA staff said that passengers would have better service by transferring between lines that would run more frequently.


Anonymous said...

Well, if you want to gut operating funds so you can bankroll them for future use on some rail expansion, and also make the claim that you are improving your operating contingency funding, what you do is first reorganize under the pretext that you are merely re-arraning service from under-utilized lines to the heavier used lines. This way you can say you are really not reducing service, just putting it where it can do more good.

Then, a couple years down the road, you can start increasing headways on those remaining routes, cutting schedules out. After all, eliminating an entire line is very noticeable, but a headway between buses increasing from say, 15 minutes to 20 or 25 minutes, and then maybe a year later to 30 minutes, well that's not so noticeable.

So that perhaps two or three years from now, if one were to compare the service level at that point to what it is today, why we might even see a 30 or 40% cut in service.

Anonymous said...

This is well said! I contend that COA is a cover to further remove service and eventual diminish many service on expanded routes.