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.
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: