Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Ugly SamTrans cuts ahead

After a series of public meetings, SamTrans will present a revised bus cut plan for board approval next week.

The revised proposal would maintain late night and overnight service, as well as some of local service like line 295. However, the proposal would eliminate all express bus service to San Francisco except line KX, which would be reduced to hourly service. SamTrans also plans to eliminate a lightly used local route in Millbrae. The total service to be reduced is 7.5%, which is comparable to VTA's proposed bus cut, and half of what AC Transit is planning to cut.

Because SamTrans no longer proposes to reduce service span, paratransit service would largely be maintained.

SamTrans believes its primary role is to serve the transit dependent, “We have a responsibility to those for whom we are their only means of mobility – people who depend on us to get them to their jobs, to school, to the doctor’s office and to the grocery store,” said Deputy CEO Chuck Harvey in the SamTrans' press release.

However, the proposed elimination of express service is a bad news for long time commuters. Although SamTrans argues that these riders generally have higher income and could afford to ride BART or Caltrain to San Francisco, many of these riders stuck to SamTrans because of its one-seat service. While riders in Burlingame, Millbrae and San Bruno have a relatively easy access to BART or Caltrain, riders in Foster City do not have such easy access. In its proposal, SamTrans plans to provide express service from Foster City to Millbrae, where riders can connect either BART or Caltrain. However, having to transfer to either line would mean longer travel time and expense (especially with BART).

- Reduce headways from 30 minutes to 60 minutes.
- Eliminate the segment south of Palo Alto Caltrain. KX passengers can ride VTA anywhere in Palo Alto with SamTrans monthly pass.

- Reduce headways from 30 minutes to 60 minutes.

- Operate service in one direction before 7 a.m. and after 4 p.m.

- Reduce headways from 30 minutes to 60 minutes, except during school hours.

390 and 391:
- On weekends only, reduce headways from 30 minutes to 40 minutes. (Make the combined service from every 15 minutes to every 20 minutes.) Service between Redwood City and Palo Alto would be even lower because of reduction on KX to hourly. The further cut in service between Redwood City and Palo Alto would make connection with VTA more difficult.

Route eliminations:
342, DX, FX, MX, NX, PX, RX

Included in the plan is another fare increase in February 2010, which SamTrans would join Muni, AC Transit, County Connection and VTA in the two dollar club.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's the one good thing about taking Sam Trans rather than some sort of Caltrain/BART/Muni shuffle to the city for work-its not just cheaper, but if you work downtown, you don't have to make any (expensive cause you have to buy another monthly pass) transfer.

Anonymous said...

I think Sam Trans has the logic reversed-generally, people who commute on Caltrain to the city are white collar, while the SamTrans option appeals to people who have to commute to the city, but can't afford monthly Caltrain passes (or their workplace won't supply them).

accountablevta said...

SamTrans is also the administrative agency for Caltrain (Mike Scanlon is the General Manager of SamTrans and Caltrain. Many of the office staff work for both SamTrans and Caltrain. Only operating staff are separate), which can explain why the agency feels Caltrain to be a suitable alternative to its own express service.

Of course in the view of the pro-rail MTC, getting rid to bus service means less "competition" to rail service.