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."