Dump the Pump, and Silicon Valley’s transit redesign

Dump the Pump Day: Thursday June 16, 2016

Thursday, June 16 is the American Public Transportation Association’s “Dump the Pump” Day, on which American transit agencies publicize the benefits of public transportation.

Participating agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area include County Connection in Contra Costa County, SolTrans for Solano County, and SamTrans for San Mateo County. Besides free rides on the ECR route along the Peninsula and Route 294 to Half Moon Bay, SamTrans will have goodies for bus riders at the Hillsdale Mall Transit Center and the Redwood City Transit Center.

Other areas providing free rides include Culver City CA, Springfield MO, Charleston SC, Niagara Falls, Cincinnati, Topeka, Tallahassee, Yuma County and more.

VTA Transit: Coverage or Frequency? Livestream discussion tonight.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) provides bus and rail transit service throughout Santa Clara County, California. Historically, VTA has focused on providing coverage throughout the sprawling region, which comes at the expense of frequency and good connectivity. Although 90% of workers live within a half mile of transit, fewer than four percent of workers use public transportation for commute trips.

In an effort to both define VTA’s goals and improve service, VTA began its Next Network project earlier this year. As part of this work, transit consultant Jarrett Walker released his “Choices Report” on VTA’s transit system, showing existing conditions, an analysis of coverage vs frequency and connectivity, possible opportunities for improvement, and decisions to make.

I’ll simplify greatly because the live stream meeting begins in just a few hours, but the VTA board is looking at ways to improve connectivity to make the system more useful to more people. This might mean hard decisions about coverage. Although some far-flung bus routes might carry only a handful of people, those small handful likely depend absolutely on public transportation. Walker’s report also has discussion about VTA’s investment in commute time services, although ridership data shows a significant percentage of trips happen at off-commute hours. Because people ride transit for reasons other than travel to work, perhaps the agency shouldn’t spend so much on commuter expresses.

Here’s the public outreach announcement:

VTA is redesigning its transit network to make transit more useful and cost effective, and to maximize connections to BART. We want your feedback and input.

On Wednesday, June 15 at 6 p.m., please join VTA’s Next Network project team via our live streamed virtual meeting on VTA’s YouTube channel for a discussion of transit network design choices. The meeting will stream at https://youtu.be/lnUtskyeLIY.

Ask questions or give input during the virtual meeting through the chat, or tweet @VTA using #vtanextnetwork. You can also learn more and provide feedback about alternative concepts at http://nextnetwork.vta.org.

If you’d like to attend in person or RSVP to the virtual meeting, please use this Facebook Event and consider inviting your family, friends and neighbors as well.

In-Person Meeting Details

June 15 Community Meeting, starting at 6 p.m.

San Jose City Hall (Rooms 118-120)
200 East Santa Clara Street, San Jose, CA, 95113
Email community.outreach@vta.org or call (408)321-7575 with any questions or feedback about the transit redesign.

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