Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Painful cuts on the way

Bus cuts meeting dates:

Campbell
Monday, August 10, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.
Campbell Community Center, Roosevelt Community Room
1 West Campbell Avenue, Campbell

San Jose
Tuesday, August 11, 2009 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
County Government Center, Isaac Newton Senter Auditorium
70 West Hedding Street, San Jose

Mountain View
Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at 3:00 p.m.
City of Mountain View, Council Chambers
500 Castro Street, Mountain View

San Jose
Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at 6:00 p.m.
San Jose Public Library, Almaden Branch
6445 Camden Avenue, San Jose

San Jose
Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 3:00 p.m.
Dr. Roberto Cruz - Alum Rock Branch Public Library
3090 Alum Rock Avenue, San Jose

Milpitas
Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.
Milpitas Public Library, Room A
160 N. Main Street, Milpitas

The following is the quick summary of the proposed service reductions:

Route discontinuation: 34, 43, 76, 101, River Oaks shuttle

Weekend service cut: 11, 13, 42 (Sunday only), 45, 46 (Sunday only), 81 (weekend service operate only between Cupertino Square and Santa Clara Caltrain)

Drop in frequency from 15 to 20 mins:
- Midday: 66, 68, 72, 73, 77
- Weekend: 25 (30 to 40 minutes west of Valley Med), 70

Drop in frequency from 15 to 30 mins: 10 (early morning), 13, 26 (cut midday short trips), 31, 60 (midday)

Drop in frequency from 30 mins to 40-45 mins:
- Midday: 14, 17, 18, 19, 27, 63
- Saturday: 40, 54, 82 (hourly Sunday), 180
- Sunday: 60, 47, 54, 71, 72, 73, 180

Drop in frequency from 30 mins to hourly:
- Midday: 37 (between Capitol and Winchester), 46, 48, 49
- All day: 39
- Saturday: 27, 31, 35
- Sunday: 57

Route change: 47 - combined with line 33 via Calaveras.

Light Rail: Mountain View service would end at 10:30pm. Two night bus trips would replace light rail from Tasman to Fair Oaks serving all LRT stops and run non-stop to Mountain View.

Nearly all bus lines will have some trips deleted and service hours reduced during early mornings and evenings. Line 22 would also have overnight service eliminated. Along with the proposed cut of SamTrans' overnight service, there would no longer be any overnight transit option available along the Caltrain corridor.

These proposed cuts are a strong reminiscent of the bus cuts VTA made in 2002 and 2003. During that time, VTA reduced service on many routes from 15-30 minute headways into odd headways of 20-45 minutes. Only during the COA process when service was added back on some routes by diverting resources from elsewhere in the system. This time, the same service is getting threatened again.

Some of the frequency cuts may look minor, but the odd headways proposed for many routes make transfers difficult. For example, lines 68 and light rail operate on the same headway and passengers have timed transfers at the Santa Teresa Station 4 times an hour. Under this proposal, timed transfer would only be available once an hour midday.

The more important question is whether VTA would restore the service once the economy recovers. After the cuts in 2002 and 2003, VTA did not significantly increase service levels and failed to meet the 2000 Measure A promise to increase bus service over the year 2000 level. Last fall, Michael Burns claimed that Measure B was necessary because bus service could not be decimated to fund the BART project. Right now, bus service is being decimated. If Burns does not agree to restore service to at least January 2008 level as soon as funding becomes available, then he is breaking his promise and therefore should not deserve any federal funds for a rail line to the Flea Market.

Tomorrow, VTA Riders' Union will hold a protest and a press conference ast 6:00pm at the San Jose Diridon Station over the proposed fare hikes and service cuts by not only VTA, but also by Caltrain and other transit agencies. Earlier in the day, Transform will hold an event in Downtown Oakland urging federal lawmakers to provide more assistance to transit agencies for operations.

Finally, the so-call no tax-hike state budget is nothing but a Republican scam to protect the rich and deceive the middle class. Through some budget manuvers to shift money from one pot to another, many local governments would be ending up with a larger budget shortfall, forcing them to cut service and raise taxes and fees beyond what they have already done. Under this settlement, AC Transit would lose an additional $6 million with their local taxes being "borrowed" by the state. AC Transit is already losing $26 million through the cuts in State Transit Assistance alone, which was diverted to cover the general fund shortfall.

East Bay taxpayers have been generous to AC Transit by overwhelmingly approving tax increases to protect bus operations and hold fares stable. At the end, it appears that their generosity have been exploited by Sacramento politicians.

8 comments:

arcady said...

That overnight service is very useful if you miss the last Caltrain. Oh well, it's only about an 11 hour walk home from the nearest Muni stop.

amandainsjc said...

After that list, it may be worthwhile to post a list of routes that are *not* going to be affected.

shane said...

Lines 12, 32, 102, 120, 182, and 328 are VTA routes with no proposed changes.

Line 522 should not operate as often as it does on Saturday in comparison to weekday.

accountablevta said...

A lot of the lines without proposed changes already operate at a bare bone frequency. 328 only has one round trip and the other alternative is route discontinuation

shane said...

According to May, 2009 ridership report, Lines 12 32, 102 182 and 328 are performing above standard, forgot to mention 122.

Lines 12, 32, 102 and 182 offer more trips and are still performing above standard.

Line 122 and 328 offer one trip in each direction. Maybe this is what VTA hoping for?

Anonymous said...

Kindly leave Saturday's 522 service alone, thank you!

shane said...

Line 522 will operate 9am-6, instead of the current 5:30am-8pm.

Line 522's Saturday ridership - according to VTA's ridership statistics is a low performer. Probably, mostly that there is little time saving, and Line 22 provides local service, reducing a rider's walking distance. Line 522 should countinue to operate, but should not operate every 15 while most routes are being scaled to 20 minutes.

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