Monday, March 16, 2009

The plan means bus cuts after all

After a series of public meetings on the 2009 service plan, VTA staff made a number of revisions which amounted to bus cuts.

Essentially, staff recommened selected trip reductions on various routes, including significant frequency reductions on lines 31, 45, 64 (on Saturday), and 88.

Under the revised plan, lines 66 and 68 would have improved frequency throughout the day as originally proposed.

The original plan was supposed to be cost neutral, where resources in poor-performing routes would be diverted to corridors that have a greater ridership demand. Because of the budget crisis that VTA is facing, VTA has "deferred" some of the improvements that would be made if all the resources were reallocated. In other words, bus cuts.

Those "deferred" improvements include additional trips on various lines, as well as Saturday service on line 37.

In regards to line 180 and 181 from Fremont, VTA continues to propose expanding 181 operation all-day, but with a 30-minute frequency midday. 180 would only operate between Fremont and the Great Mall every 30 minutes. VTA also proposes to use the Stevenson-I880 routing (as supposed to the current Mission-I680-Mission-I880) as VTA would use the parking lot at the former Fremont City Hall for bus riders. Today, lines 180 and 181 operate every 15 minutes.

Why are all of our predictions correct? Because most members on the VTA Board are delusional and VTA General Manager Michael Burns has failed to provide real leadership. Rather than to educate the public about the real choices ahead for the agency, Burns continued to appease the Downtown Delusionals by give them false hopes as of last Friday:

"The (VTA) board still plans to complete the entire (BART) line," said Burns of the 16.1-mile extension into downtown San Jose's Diridon Station and beyond into Santa Clara. "There's just no sense in building only as far as Berryessa and then putting off finishing the line for another 25 years."

Since 2006, VTA has not provided any financial projections that it has the funds to build the BART line to Santa Clara. Rather, outside consultants have concluded multiple times that the VTA financial projection made in 2006 was unrealistic. In addition, the whole premise to go to Santa Clara is no longer there because VTA and the San Jose Airport cannot afford an airport people mover.

It was especially unethical that Burns made this unfulfillable promise in light of this, and possibly more, bus cuts and fare increases.

If the Downtown Delusionals are disappointed that BART could only go as far as the Flea Market, they only have themselves to blame for believing in Guardino's and Burns' lies, rather than believing in the transit advocates that pushed for more realistic and affordable alternatives.


Anonymous said...

Yearly VTA produces a service plan. The 2009 plan actually cleans-up some of COA, and monitor ridership patterns. Since 2008, there have been many happenings in the valley from increase gas prices to the downfall of the economy.

Some routes have been more productive as some have become unproductive. This unproductive (routes/service hours) will be eliminated or reduced to increase service on routes with high patronage. However, this is not to be equated with bus cuts. The 2009 revised/Annual Service Plan represents a cost neutral solution.

As the legislators release projections for transit agencies, then we will be able to discuss service reductions that are not cost neutral.

Anonymous said...

A bus cut is when patrons uses the service. Some removing service that isn't being used is not a bus cut. If fact the service is being used to add additional service on key routes.

accountablevta said...

It was pretty clear that from the onset the original plan was just a reallocation of service. Now some of the service won't be reallocated, which means bus cuts.

It may not be a big one, but it is not something to be sugarcoated or somehow justified.

Anonymous said...

I have participated at the meetings, and have seen the ridership data. On all the trips presented for elmination they do not carry passengers and majority are short/partial trips.

My definition of a service cut is a route that actually has ridership, but due to minimum resources is cut-back.

Keep in mind that VTA is bumping service on Line 66 and Line 68. I took some time and analyzed the number of hours lost verse number of hours gained, not only on Line 66/68 but on other routes too. I choose to list 66/68 because they have significant gains.

Which equations to:
***Line 66 operating 5 more buses during midday (multiply 5 buses *7 midday hours) for the number of daytime hours.

***Line 68 operating 8 more buses during midday (multiply 8 buses * 7 midday hours)for day time hours hour, and also all trips extended to Gilroy, so (multply 5 buses * 6 hours(AM/PM)) for the number of hours added to peak.

Considering what is presented, this plan weigh more positive than it does negative. I would rather have service were there is patronage than in areas and there's not patronage.

VTA is not sugarcoating, but is addressing the ridership patterns that are realistic with real ridership data.

accountablevta said...

When the overall service is reduced, less resource is available to those who need it.

The issue is not about VTA's exercise to improve transit productivity, but about its back handed way to reduce overall resources available. Service cuts are happening in a lot of places, there's nothing inherently wrong admitting bus cuts if there's no funding available.

The problem with VTA is that it wants to pretend that it is not cutting service, the same way it pretends it can afford BART through downtown San Jose.

Anonymous said...

Based on your comment

"When the overall service is reduced, less resource is available to those who need it."

we can concluded that the 2009 Annual Service Plan is not a reduction in service. All discontinued service carry ZERO riders, so the service was available, but it is not being utilized. Why keep such a waste? At one time, it was being used, but as with any organization changes occur overtime.

With the BART / VTA bashing, it is time to stop and support what we have and strengthen it's efforts through creative logic. If not, we will continue to lose at the polls. The public, and I are tired of hearing the same tired arguments that are not 100%.