Saturday, August 21, 2010

Express light rail coming this October

Following the recommendations of the light rail COA conducted last year, VTA staff is planning to implement weekday express light rail service from South San Jose effective October 4. The new trips will start from Santa Teresa to Baypointe and will run non-stop from Ohlone/Chynoweth to Convention Center stations. All other trips will remain unchanged.

The express trips are expected to save 5-6 minutes between Ohlone/Chynoweth and Convention Center, which is about 36% for those traveling between those two stations, or 12% for those traveling between Santa Teresa and Baypointe.

Northbound express trains leaving Santa Teresa: 7:16 a.m., 7:46 a.m., 8:16 a.m.

Southbound express trains leaving Baypointe: 4:07 p.m., 4:37 p.m., 5:07 p.m.

In addition, staff is also planning to extend some night trips (9:51 p.m. and 10:21 p.m.) departing from Winchester to Baypointe instead of Civic Center. This will help riders that need to connect with the late night light rail replacement bus leaving from Tasman to Mountain View.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

SamTrans following suit on COA

Following the footsteps VTA took a few years ago, SamTrans is now working a COA. In addition to finding ways to improve the bus system, the agency is hoping the COA would help improve SamTrans' financial stability. Because of the economic crisis and reduction of state transit funding, SamTrans has already eliminated most express bus routes. SamTrans' trouble is also affecting Caltrain, as the agency plans to eliminate operating subsidies (the remaining San Mateo County subsidy would only come from the 2004 Measure A sales tax) the next fiscal year.

Although San Mateo County is located adjacent to Santa Clara County, SamTrans environment is vastly different from VTA. SamTrans primarily serves a narrow corridor centered on El Camino Real. Being a smaller county, SamTrans only collects a fraction of the sales tax revenue that VTA receives, yet SamTrans provides financial support for two regional rail systems.

One of the possibilities for SamTrans is to provide deviated fixed route service. Under ADA, transit agencies are required to provide door-to-door paratransit service for disabled riders who cannot use regular transit. With deviated fixed route service, the bus would stay on a regular route to serve all riders and go off route to pick up and drop off qualified disabled riders. It would help meet the ADA mandate without providing segregated service. The bus agency in San Joaquin County currently provides such service and it is helping the agency to control cost on disabled service.