Monday, October 31, 2011

Fall transit updates

This summer is relatively quiet on transit. There are a few good news. The first is that Caltrain service is stabilized for the remainder of this year and next year. However despite the stability, Caltrain advocates will need to come up with some type of funding source to be placed on the ballot box next November. Among the plans is a sales tax measure just for San Mateo County. A San Mateo County only tax does not require state approval (compared to a three county tax), and would address most of the funding problem since the Caltrain fiscal crisis was initiated by SamTrans, which has provided funding to Caltrain through its own sales tax but also has a structural deficit.

Besides San Jose State, De Anza College also recently joined the Eco Pass program for its students. Today, students with a valid campus ID card can request a sticker which they can ride all VTA services free. The Eco Pass program is funded by a mandatory student fee approved by the student body. The fee for part time student is $4 per quarter and for full time is $5 per quarter.

This fall, SamTrans will host a series of community meetings in San Mateo County as a part of the process to restructure the service:

Monday, Nov. 7 – 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Menlo Park Senior Center, 100 Terminal Avenue, Menlo Park

Thursday, Nov. 10 - 6 to 8 p.m.
Ted Adcock Community Center, 535 Kelly Ave., Half Moon Bay

Tuesday, Nov. 15 – 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
College of San Mateo, Building 10, Room 468, 1700 W. Hillsdale Blvd., San Mateo

Wednesday, Nov. 16 – 1 to 3 p.m.
San Mateo County Transit District., 1250 San Carlos Ave., San Carlos

Thursday, Nov. 17 – 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
San Mateo Central Park, Central Recreation Center, Rooms A & B
50 E. 5th Ave., San Mateo

Saturday, Nov. 19 – 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Belle Air Elementary – cafeteria, 450 Third Ave., San Bruno

Lastly, riders on the Dumbarton Express should expect changes in December. The Dumbarton Express service, which is jointly funded by AC Transit, Union City Transit, BART, SamTrans, and VTA, will change its contract operator from AC Transit to MV Transportation. The funding partners believed that the service provided by AC Transit is too expensive and they selected MV Transportation as the new contract operator. Currently MV Transportation is the contract provider of Union City Transit and some SamTrans routes (such as the KX).

As a part of the new contract, there would be changes in service as well. Some trips would be eliminated or rescheduled. The DB3 service (which runs in reverse-commute direction via East Palo Alto) is also planned to be discontinued. AC Transit will hold a public hearing regarding those service changes on November 16 in Oakland.