Thursday, May 19, 2011

VTA revises bus change proposal

After a series of public meetings, VTA staff came up with a revised bus change proposal for this July and next January.

The key revisions from the original proposal are to maintain routes 101 and 104, postponement of adding a new route 105 (Fremont BART to Mountain View), and an extension of route 120 (Fremont BART to Lockheed) from Lockheed to Mountain view. On the other hand, under the revised plan, route 10 would have reduced service in the evening and all day on weekends because of funding cuts from the City of San Jose. Line 180 would also lose a late evening trip in favor of adding a Milpitas stop for line 181.

Also under the new plan, line 37 would have Saturday service between Winchester and Capitol LRT stations. Service span on lines 48 and 49 would remain the same.

The revised plan is certainly an improvement. At the community meetings, staff said that under the proposed biennial budget, there would be a 1% increase in service (considering that less than 2 years ago VTA reduced service by 8%.). While VTA was saying that there would be an increase in service, the original plan still proposed to discontinue some in-county express routes like line 104, which staff originally planned to cut the route back in 2007.

Cutting line 104 and starting 105 was not justified. Without line 104, residents from East San Jose and Milpitas would not have a viable transit option to the Palo Alto area. The next best alternative would require multiple transfers between light rail and bus, or travel all the way to Downtown San Jose to make a transfer. On the other hand, line 105 would primarily serve out of county commuters. Even without the extension of line 120, East Bay commuters can take ACE or Capitol Corridor train and transfer to an ACE Shuttle at Great America to Mountain View.

The VTA Transit Planning and Operations Committee will review the revised plan today at its regular meeting at 4:30pm. The committee meeting location is the VTA headquarters at 3331 North 1st Street (conference room B-104). If the committee supports the plan, the VTA Board will consider approving the plan at its meeting on June 2 at 6:00pm at the Board of Supervisors Chamber.

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