Friday, August 7, 2009

Save Our Bus #3 -- August 7, 2009

Yesterday I attended the Proposed Service and Fare Changes meeting in Half Moon Bay. Before the meeting, I asked a gentleman from SamTrans how turnout had been at the first three meetings. He said there had been about 60 at each. I later heard someone say it was 30-60 each. There were 130 people at last night's meeting. I'd say about half were from Pacifica and the rest were from Half Moon Bay, pleading for the life of the 17 bus. One person spoke about the FX, 292, and KX cuts.

The mayor of Half Moon Bay, a Pacifica councilmember, and members of the San Mateo County and Pacifica school boards were there, along with a member of the Pacifica Chamber of Commerce.

A group of people from a senior community in Half Moon Bay chartered a bus to come and make their case for the 17. Many senior citizens came from Pacifica to make a pitch for the 14.

Below is an email I sent to SamTrans to expand upon my comments.

I should add that it would be shameful to eliminate the 17. Many schoolchildren depend on it, along with most of the workers from the Nurserymen's Exchange. The manager said they sold 500 bus passes to their workers. Dwight Wilson of the Coastside Transportation Committee said that they applied for grants and ridership increased from 57,000 per year to 97,000.


Last night I attended the Proposed Service and Fare Changes meeting in Half Moon Bay. I am sorry there was not a session in Pacifica or there would have been a better turnout of DX/CX/14 proponents. Thank you for the opportunity to speak and give my opinions. I would like to expand upon them here.

I appreciate that the current economy and budget situation have put SamTrans in a difficult position, but please consider how important bus service is to those of us who live on the Coastside. For one thing, we do not have the alternatives that people on the bay side enjoy: CalTrain, BART, redundant bus routes, and multiple north-south streets and freeways. In Pacifica, everything has to pass over Highway One. If the DX is eliminated, many of the 298 daily riders (from page 6 of the presentation) will choose to drive in the city or at least to a BART station. This will add to the strain on Highway One, which is going to get even worse when the Devil's Slide tunnel opens. If the CX is eliminated, many of the 317 people (page 7) will drive to BART stations. I hope I understood correctly that none of your proposals suggested eliminating both buses. Eliminating both would be a disaster.

If the CX and DX are combined, so some or all DX runs will drop off and pick up at Colma BART, I hope you will increase the number of DX runs, or the buses will be seriously overcrowded. Please remember that when the 1F, the old name of the DX, had every other run stop at Colma BART that most Pacificans crowded on the buses that went directly to and from the City. When the northbound runs arrived at Colma BART, a few people would get off and enough people would get on to fill all the seats in the bus. On southbound runs, most people got off at the BART station. Perhaps there is some way to discourage this behavior, like not picking up at BART on northbound runs and not dropping off on southbound runs.

Please also consider the danger to school kids and senior citizens in the San Pedro Valley if you eliminate the 14. How else are they supposed to get to school and go shopping?

Someone at the meeting suggested more aggressive selling of advertising. I like the idea. I see commercial advertisements on the outside of buses, but rarely inside. The DX I rode home today had one commercial ad, for the circus, and one questionable one, for the county fair. All the rest of the ads were public service-related. I assume you don't get any revenue for those. There was plenty of room for more ads. I know the economy is weak, but stores like Safeway derive a lot of benefit from people who ride buses.


Joe Thompson

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