Friday, March 28, 2008

VTA April updates and more

Finally Suzanne Gifford, VTA's General Counsel, is retiring. The VTA board is scheduled at its meeting next Thursday to appoint one of her deputies, Kevin Allmand, to become the acting General Counsel until a permenant replacement is hired.

Gifford's record at VTA wasn't spectacular. One of her biggest failures at VTA is losing a $2.1 million lawsuit filed by a scooter-bound VTA rider who got injured inside the bus. Even Dave Cortese, a VTA board member, thought that Gifford should've settled early on. Because of that lawsuit, VTA instituted a policy in 2007 to require wheelchair passengers to be secured inside the bus. Although its intent is to improve passenger safety, some disabled riders argued against the policy because it would increase the time needed to board and exit wheelchair passengers.

VTA working with groups to address the Hotel 22 problem

About 30 volunteers from Victory Outreach Church and Tzu Chi Foundation will ride the Hotel 22 tonight to provide homeless riders with information on community resources and housing. A small gift bag will be given to interested homeless riders.

VTA to restore some 68 peak hour service in the South County

On April 7, VTA will restore 3 peak hour trips each way (northbound in the morning and southbound in the afternoon) on line 68 between Santa Teresa light rail and Gilroy. As part of the January service change, VTA eliminated 15-minute service on line 68 south of Santa Teresa, which led to numerous compliants about overcrowding on buses.

A minor community bus problem

In the photo above, there's a yellow strip located right under the window frame. That's the stop request strip designed to be used by wheelchair passengers. Apparently, a lot of regular passengers who sat in the front accidentially triggered stop request by simply leaning their bodies on to the strip. Some drivers tell these passengers to keep away from the strip. Some drivers decided not to bother the passengers and instead reset the visual messaging board that shows the stop request.

Proposed VTA Board reform rejected by the CAC

On its March 12 Citizen's Advisory Committee meeting, VTA staff presented the board reform proposal for the committee to consider. Although many members believed the proposed reform is a good first step, it is not enough to address VTA's governance problems. Moreover, many believed that additional public input is needed on this matter. At the end, the CAC voted not to recommend the proposal and requested the board to "take a holistic and strategic approach on the whole issue of governance and begin an interactive process with all appropriate community stakeholders."


Anonymous said...

As a community bus driver, I can honestly say this is one of my least favorite things about the community buses. On the 7000 series buses (And probably the 5000 series ones as well) if someone accidentally leans on this strip it will keep beeping. Sometimes the 'stop request' cord will NOT beep after this strip has been pressed on.

If you sit near the front, be mindful of it. The newer community buses (8000 series) are midly better in that if someone leans against that stip, it beeps once and ONLY once.

Anonymous said...

has there been any comments from drivers and passengers regarding the comfort of these coaches?

Anonymous said...

Yes. Not to mention the 'New car' smell the newer community buses have! Passengers have said that they like the seats; they are a lot more comfortable than the seats in the larger buses.

It takes a little longer to load wheelchairs, because the driver has to get out of the vehicle to operate the lift.

The community buses also have one door. People are still getting accustomed to waiting for passengers to exit before boarding the bus.

accountablevta said...

The community buses are generally quieter, because it runs on gasoline. A disadvantage is that they're high floor vehicles.

Winston said...

I can't say that I have any fondness for VTA's wretched low floor buses. I don't think I've been on a worse bus from a rider comfort perspective.

Anonymous said...

Typical transit agency capitol thinking: spend millions upon millions of dollars for vehicles, make sure you check off the feature list (low floor, accessible, buzz word, etc.) without giving any thought to what the experience will be like for both riders and drivers.

I wouldn't be surprised if the board thought about what color the strip should be without ever thinking it could be tripped accidently.