A group letter was written to VTA to protest and suggest their latest service cut proposal. Read it below. First, read letters from Andrew Boone, Andy Chow, and a news article featuring rising transit advocacy star Monica Mallon. Our letter follows…
TO: VTA Board Members, VTA Customer Service, and VTA Staff
RE: Proposed 2019 “New Transit” Proposal
Upon further review of VTA’s proposed service cuts in their 2019 “New Transit” Plan, we need VTA to ensure the following bus services are kept:
- The 22 bus line needs to continue running between 1am and 4am. Ending service between those hours ends the only 24-hour transit link in Santa Clara County. While it’s true that the homeless use the bus as a shelter, there are also late-night retail and service workers coming home from the graveyard shift who use that bus. In addition, it’s an alternative to Caltrain when its service ends at midnight, especially between Palo Alto and San Jose.
- Express bus lines like the 101, 102, 122, and 185 need to be kept. Ending these express bus lines just adds more solo automobile traffic on highways 101 and 85. It is past time that VTA look at why these express bus lines have such low ridership. Hint: Silicon Valley is a 24-hour economy, not a 9am-5am “bankers’ hours” economy. Hint 2: residents tend to view buses as “something only poor people ride.”
- Bus lines like the 65 and 83 need to be kept as well. The 65 is the only bus line linking San Jose State University with San Jose City College. As for the proposed 83, it should link Ohlone-Chynoweth station with New Almaden, running with the same frequency and bus/light rail connections as the Almaden light rail shuttle. Ending these bus lines will result in at least 20% more solo automobile traffic in San Jose alone.
- In Palo Alto, the 88 series of bus lines (88L, 88M) need to be kept as well. Cutting off poorer areas of Palo Alto from the VA Hospital and Gunn High School is not good in terms of image. VTA needs to work with the City of Palo Alto to provide service as needed to these areas.
We have not heard from VTA regarding the main root cause of their $26 million operating deficit this fiscal year. Mentioned in your Fiscal Year 2018 and 2019 budget by General Manager Fernandez, the bulk of your operating deficit is due to “increased costs in mid-life overhaul of the light rail vehicles.” What has VTA done to try to control the costs of this overhaul? We have not heard this in any of the public meetings regarding bus and light rail service cuts.
Your written response to these concerns and suggestions is appreciated.
Founder, Silicon Valley Transit Users