Tomorrow, MTC will present an award to VTA for the COA service plan that got implemented in January. Does VTA really deserve an award?
It is important to note that the COA was a reallocation of resources, not to restore the service got cut a few years prior. At every COA related meetings, VTA staff always reminded the audience that any service improvement added to one line would require service reduction on another line. While the ridership growth may look above average, many transit dependent riders either left stranded by the plan or left with a much longer trip requiring multiple transfers (which actually helped boost VTA's ridership count since a trip with a transfer is considered two boardings).
VTA may want to take all the credit, but it was the everyday riders who demanded changes to the original proposal. For instance, under the original plan, West Valley and Foothill college would lose all the bus service except one line for each campus. VTA also proposed to eliminate express bus service like line 104 from Milpitas to Palo Alto and line 122 from South San Jose to Sunnyvale. The staff originally recommended these riders to take the light rail, which would take at least twice if not three times as long.
Nonetheless, some of the useful service got cut anyway. Line 85, for instance, connected Valley Medical Center with downtown San Jose. Line 22 also used to serve Menlo Park.
VTA should only get an award when its bus service is no longer at risk due to its misguided priorities.