Santa Cruz Metro plans service reductions to cut spending [PDF] this fall. The cut that will effect me: Completely eliminating the bus that serves my daughter’s elementary school.
The transit district selected routes to cut based on performance. Average ridership for the 2:30 PM Route 31 is just 7.4 riders, and the days I pick my daughter up from school using the bus, I can count on us being the only two people to board at the school bus stop. Still, this stop is an essential for me.
I imagine many ‘underperforming’ routes have a similar story — not many people use it, but the few who do absolutely rely on it.
I sent the below letter to the Santa Cruz Metro planning staff and to the board member who represents me, with CCs to some school district staffers and to school board. Dene Busticci (the Metro board member from Scotts Valley) is a developer who occasionally says some bone headed things about privatizing transit and what-not, but he does listen to his constituents and forwards that feedback to Metro staff.
Dear Santa Cruz Metro board members and planning staff:
I am a resident of Scotts Valley and daily user of Santa Cruz Metro transit services. I understand the economic issues and the need for service cuts facing almost every transit agency in the nation.
This comment regards proposed service cuts for Route 31 serving Scotts Valley, in which afternoon service along Graham Hill Road will be eliminated beginning this September. No afternoon alternatives are available along Graham Hill Road.
My daughter attends Brook Knoll Elementary School, which is served by the Graham Hill & Treetop stop. Beyond the 120 or so families who live in close proximity to Brook Knoll in the Rollingwoods neighborhood, there is no reasonable walking or bicycling access to the school for students or staff who live in Scotts Valley. Eliminating afternoon bus service along Graham Hill Road effectively mandates car ownership for all Brook Knoll students, a hefty financial burden for many families.
I don’t ride the 31 with my daughter often; admittedly it’s Plan B for us. On days that I do pick her up from the school using the bus, however, public transportation is absolutely essential. Eliminating Route 31 school service will likely result in my family and I moving out of Scotts Valley.
In the proposed “partial local service to Scotts Valley to serve school times,” Vine Hill service will continue, but Brook Knoll is cut from the proposed route.
Please retain afternoon pickup from Graham Hill & Treetop in the service reductions.
Furthermore, please consider the school schedule in scheduling the routes. Currently, Route 31 is scheduled to arrive at 2:40 PM each weekday, which is exactly the time the 4th and 5th grade classes are released. In practice, the bus generally arrives behind schedule and we catch that 2:40 bus, but if service is reduced to a single afternoon trip adjusting the schedule back by 5 to 10 minutes would be very helpful.
Thank you for your consideration and your time.