Category: Advocacy

Our (and other) transit advocacy efforts in Silicon Valley.

Show Them YOU Matter

VTA artic bus 8335

VTA articulated bus 8335.

Your help is needed again, at the regional transit level.  On Monday, help the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) get more funding from part II of the COVID-19 CARES Act Federal Stimulus package.  You can do this at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) Transit Recovery Task Force meeting at 2pm.  There, they will discuss how to divvy up the remaining funds for other Bay Area transit agencies.

We’ve been informed that all 27 transit agencies in the Bay Area are fighting over the funds now.  VTA is advocating for one funding option (2b) that includes equity in the formula used to distribute the funds.  Meanwhile, other agencies like BART and Caltrain are fighting against it.

Here’s more of what YOU can do to help on Monday afternoon.

Ride VTA? Tell San Jose City Council You Matter!

Some members on the San Jose City Council think you, as a transit rider, don’t matter.  On Tuesday January 28, the San Jose City Council will vote on sending a letter to the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) opposing reallocation of funding to help increase bus and light rail service throughout Santa Clara County.

Details on what is going on – and how YOU can help stop this letter – are below.

VTA Driver Shortage Follow-Up

Ever notice your bus or light rail train did not show up as scheduled in Silicon Valley lately?  One reason: the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), along with some other transit agencies in this country, is experiencing a driver shortage.  Yet, as of today, no official notice from VTA advising people on this has occurred.  This is a follow-up to a post from October on VTA’s driver shortage.

Keep Fighting the Good Transit Fight

Also from Monica Mallon:

Please come to the board meeting and make a comment on item 9.5 asking the board to reallocate 2016 Measure B funds from highways to transit operations to improve bus service!!!

Hi folks – This is the *MOST* important VTA Board meeting for the next the YEAR.

Needed: Directly-Elected VTA Board Members

Inside the Santa Clara County Supervisors' chambers.

Inside the Santa Clara County Supervisors’ chambers where VTA Board Of Directors’ meetings are held.

Tired of reading story after story on how VTA wastes your money and is mismanaged?  Tired of being forced to drive in traffic gridlock because of VTA’s service cuts over the years, rooted in their mismanagement? Now is your best chance to help change it all for the better.  The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) wants your input on how it seeks to be governed in the future.

VTA created a survey to take your input, which includes several questions.  They are also taking your phone calls at (408)952-4200 to take in your input, until December 6.  A public meeting will be held December 20 to further discuss restructuring; details will be posted when information is available.

Recall back in June on how the Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury trashed VTA’s poor governance in their 61-page report.  A story from the Mountain View Voice on the Grand Jury report sums up one key recommendation:

The grand jury report lays much of the responsibility for this dysfunction on the VTA Board of Directors. The 12-member governing board consists entirely of political appointees who must be currently serving as city council members or on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. Often, board members face a steep learning curve, and it doesn’t help that they often lack any experience in transportation, finance or management of an agency of this size, the report says.

Having a directly-elected VTA Board of Directors is something our group has been fighting for since 2003. Back then, we were known as the Santa Clara VTA Riders Union (SCVTARU). A story in the November 12 edition of the Silicon Valley Business Journal gives some examples of how other transit agencies throughout the nation are governed.

In that online survey and at (408)952-4200, make sure you ask VTA to have a directly-elected Board of Directors.  You can do that on Question #6 in the survey.  In Question #7, make sure to ask for public transit service throughout Santa Clara County, not just for downtown and East San Jose.

It is past time to bring much-needed accountability to public transit in Santa Clara County.  Part of a better nation, as Internet essayist Jim Wright would remind us, starts when you elect a better government.  Let’s start fighting for some of that better government for public transit today.  Getting that better government starts when YOU take that survey and make that phone call.

Eugene Bradley
Founder, Silicon Valley Transit Users