July 7, 2005

(For Board:  July 22, 2005)

REPORT OF THE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE/

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

 

Honorable Board of Directors

Golden Gate Bridge, Highway

  and Transportation District

Honorable Members:

A meeting of the Transportation Committee/Committee of the Whole was held in the Board Room, Administration Building, Toll Plaza, San Francisco, California, on Thursday, July 7, 2005, at 10:10 a.m., Acting Chair Shahum presiding.

 

Committee Members Present (5): Acting Chair Shahum; Directors Moylan, Murray and Pahre; President Middlebrook (Ex Officio)

Committee Members Absent (3): Chair Brown; Directors Cochran and Kerns

Other Directors Present (5): Directors Boro, Eddie, Martini, Reilly and Stroeh

Committee of the Whole Members Present (10): Directors Eddie, Martini, Moylan, Murray, Pahre, Reilly, Shahum and Stroeh; Second Vice President Boro; President Middlebrook

Committee of the Whole Members Absent (8): Directors Ammiano, Brown, Cochran, Dufty, Hernández, Kerns, McGoldrick, and Sandoval

[On this date, there was one vacancy on the Board of Directors.]

Staff Present: General Manager Celia G. Kupersmith; District Engineer Denis J. Mulligan; Auditor-Controller Joseph M. Wire; Attorney Madeline Chun; Deputy General Manager/Bridge Division Kary H. Witt; Deputy General Manager/Bus Division Susan C. Chiaroni; Deputy General Manager/Ferry Division James P. Swindler; Deputy General Manager/Administration Teri W. Mantony; Public Affairs Director Mary C. Currie; Risk Management and Safety Director Bill Stafford; Planning Director Alan Zahradnik; Budget and Program Analysis Manager Jennifer Mennucci; Principal Planner Ron Downing; Executive Assistant to the General Manager Amorette Ko; Assistant Clerk of the Board Karen B. Engbretson

Visitors Present: None

1. Report of the District Advisory Committees
   
  a.  Advisory Committee on Accessibility (ACA)

The agendas for the March 17, 2005; April 21, 2005; May 19, 2005; and, June 16, 2005, meetings and the minutes of the February 17, 2005; March 17, 2005; and, April 21, 2005, meetings of the Advisory Committee on Accessibility (ACA) were furnished to the Transportation Committee.  Copies are available in the Office of the District Secretary.

   
 

b.  Bus Passengers Advisory Committee

The agendas for the April 13, 2005, and June 22, 2005, meetings and the minutes of the February 16, 2005, and April 13, 2005, meetings of the Bus Passengers Advisory Committee were furnished to the Transportation Committee.  Copies are available in the Office of the District Secretary.

   
 

c.  Ferry Passengers Advisory Committee

The agendas for the April 6, 2005; May 4, 2005; and, June 1, 2005, meetings and the minutes of the March 2, 2005; April 6, 2005; and, May 4, 2005, meetings of the Ferry Passengers Advisory Committee were furnished to the Transportation Committee. Copies are available in the Office of the District Secretary.

Action by the Board – None Required

   
2. Authorize the Setting of a Public Hearing Relative to the Proposed Elimination of Golden Gate Transit Regional Commute Shuttle Bus Routes 32 and 34
   
 

In a memorandum to Committee, Director of Planning Alan Zahradnik, Deputy General Manager/Bus Division Susan Chiaroni and General Manager Celia Kupersmith provided staff’s recommendation to set a public hearing on August 11, 2005, for the purpose of receiving public comment on a proposal to eliminate Golden Gate Transit (GGT) regional commute shuttle bus Routes 32 and 34 in December 2005 due to low ridership.  The report stated that in order to provide greater convenience for the affected passengers of these routes, it is proposed that the public hearing be held in the evening, at the Whistlestop offices near the San Rafael Transit Center (SRTC).  The report summarized the current performance statistics for Routes 32 and 34, noting that both routes are well below productivity standards for commute service, with less than five riders per bus trip.  With a subsidy per passenger trip of $32.29 for Route 32 and $12.57 for Route 34, these routes represent an expensive commitment of peak period resources for a very small number of passengers.  The elimination of Routes 32 and 34 has been identified in the FY 05/06 Operating and Capital Budget as a cost-saving measure, estimated to provide $183,960 in cost savings for six months of the fiscal year, from December 12, 2005 through June 30, 2006.

The report stated that until November 2003, GGT commute Routes 32 and 34 provided direct peak-hour commute service to the San Francisco Financial District from the Peacock Gap/Glenwood and Santa Venetia sections of San Rafael, respectively.  Due to low ridership, these routes were initially identified in 2003 for elimination, but were instead modified to become commute shuttles to SRTC as a means to preserve transit options for residents of the two areas.  Passengers on Routes 32 and 34 now connect with other San Francisco-bound buses at SRTC to continue their transbay commute trips.  The report described the alternatives available for commuters if the routes are eliminated and noted that the Marin County Transit District (MCTD) chooses not to provide substitute local service at this time.

The report further provided the implementation timeline and proposed public outreach for the proposed elimination of Routes 32 and 34.  The report stated that staff recommends holding a public hearing on August 11, 2005, after which the Transportation Committee will consider the matter at its September 8, 2005 meeting, with final action by the Board of Directors at its September 23, 2005 meeting and implementation of the service reduction proposed to occur December 2005.  The report noted that public hearing outreach will include the required legal notice, notification to the Bus and Ferry Passenger Advisory Committees, an article in the Golden Gate Gazette, posters and signage at the SRTC, e-mail notification, web site content, press releases, as well as direct contact with affected passengers by distributing information to Route 32 and 34 passengers during morning and evening commute periods.  A copy of the report is available in the Office of the District Secretary.

At the meeting, Alan Zahradnik summarized the staff report, noting that Routes 32 and 34 are the two worst-performing regional bus routes in the GGT system, with an average of two passengers per trip for Route 32 and five passengers per trip for Route 34. 

Discussion ensued, including the following:

a. In response to an inquiry by Director Reilly regarding other underperforming GGT bus routes, Mr. Zahradnik stated that Route 9 is the next-worst performing bus route, with an average of nine passengers per trip.  However, he noted that despite its low ridership, Route 9 would be less likely to be eliminated due to lower potential cost savings, since it runs in tandem with Route 8.  He also stated that Route 8 (average 21 passengers per trip) and Route 58 (average of 23 passengers per trip) are on staff’s “watch list” of bus routes that are close to falling below the productivity standard of 20 passengers per trip.

[With the arrival of Director Boro, the Committee became a Committee of the Whole.]

b. Director Martini inquired as to why the farebox recovery for a particular route is not one of the factors used by staff to analyze an underperforming bus route.  In response, Mr. Zahradnik explained that subsidy per passenger associated with a particular bus route, in combination with statistics for passengers per hour and passengers per trip, provides a clearer indication of a route’s performance.

c. Acting Chair Shahum commented that having an off-site, evening public hearing would be more convenient for the affected passengers on Routes 32 and 34.

Staff recommended and the Committee concurred by motion made and seconded by Directors MOYLAN/REILLY to forward the following recommendation to the Board of Directors for its consideration:

RECOMMENDATION

The Transportation Committee recommends that the Board of Directors authorize the setting of a Public Hearing on Thursday, August 11, 2005, at 5:00 p.m., at the Whistlestop Activities Room, 930 Tamalpais Avenue, San Rafael, CA, to receive public comment on a proposal to eliminate Golden Gate Transit regional commute shuttle bus Routes 32 and 34.

Action by the Board – Resolution

NON-CONSENT CALENDAR

AYES (10):      Directors Eddie, Martini, Moylan, Murray, Pahre, Reilly, Shahum and Stroeh; Second Vice President Boro; President Middlebrook

NOES (0):        None

[Note:    The above recommendation was forwarded to the Board of Directors meeting of July 8, 2005, for action.]

   
3. Approve Provision of Special Event Ferry Service to SBC Park on August 12 and 13, 2005
   
 

In a memorandum to Committee, Deputy General Manager/Ferry Division James Swindler and General Manager Celia Kupersmith provided staff’s recommendation to provide special event ferry service to SBC Park on August 12 and 13, 2005, for the Dave Matthews Band concert, with the understanding that revenues for such service would be sufficient to cover operational costs.  The report stated that the District has received numerous requests for roundtrip ferry service to this special event, from the Larkspur Ferry Terminal to SBC Park.  The report stated that using the recently established one-way special event fare of $7.00 for special event ferry service to SBC Park, it would be necessary to sell approximately 600 one-way tickets in order to cover the estimated $4,000 in fuel, crew and shore side personnel costs to operate the ferry vessel.  Due to the number of inquiries with respect to ferry service for the Dave Matthews Band concert, staff anticipates that enough tickets will be sold to cover the cost of the service.  The report noted that if more than 600 one-way tickets are sold, ferry service for this special event could result in additional revenue for the District.  A copy of the report is available in the Office of the District Secretary.

At the meeting, Celia Kupersmith summarized the staff report, noting that the Board of Directors has provided direction to staff in the past to provide special event ferry service if it is anticipated that enough tickets will be sold to break even.  She also stated that staff is exploring how other transit agencies provide special event service, in order to develop a proposed policy for the District.  She stated that such a policy would empower staff to provide special event ferry service when requested, rather than requiring Board approval at the time of each request, as long as the special event would generate enough ferry ticket sales to break even.

Discussion ensued, including the following:

  • In response to any inquiry by Director Reilly as to whether special event ferry service ever generates more revenue than the break-even level, Ms. Kupersmith replied that in the past, some special event ferry service has sold out due to the popularity of the special events.  She further stated that any extra revenue from special event ferry service would be absorbed back into the budget.
  • Acting Chair Shahum expressed her support for developing a new policy to allow decisions for providing special event ferry service to be made at the staff level.

Staff recommended and the Committee concurred by motion made and seconded by Directors MOYLAN/REILLY to forward the following recommendation to the Board of Directors for its consideration:

RECOMMENDATION

The Transportation Committee recommends that the Board of Directors approve the provision of special event ferry service to SBC Park on August 12 and August 13, 2005, for the Dave Matthews Band concerts, with the understanding that revenues for this special event service will be sufficient to cover operational costs associated with providing this service.

Action by the Board – Resolution

NON-CONSENT CALENDAR

AYES (10):      Directors Eddie, Martini, Moylan, Murray, Pahre, Reilly, Shahum and Stroeh; Second Vice President Boro; President Middlebrook

NOES (0):        None

[Note:    The above recommendation was forwarded to the Board of Directors meeting of July 8, 2005, for action.]

   
4. Monthly Report on Activities Related to Marin Local Service Contract with Marin County Transit District
   
 

The monthly report on activities related to the 18-month Marin Local Service contract with the Marin County Transit District (MCTD) was furnished to the Transportation Committee.  The report included several elements, including the following:

  • A spreadsheet from the Auditor-Controller outlining the history of payments made to date by MCTD to the District for intra-county bus transit services in Marin County, as well as for the Ride and Roll Program;
  • A spreadsheet from the Planning Department outlining GGT bus service performance of both District regional routes and MCTD local routes, providing statistics regarding riders per hour, revenue per hour, cost per hour, fare recovery and deficit per passenger for the two types of bus service, for the months of February 2005 through May 2005;
  • Agendas and minutes of several meetings of the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM), from February 2005 through June 2005;
  • Agendas and minutes of several meetings of the TAM Executive Committee, from February 2005 through June 2005; and,
  • Agendas and minutes of several meetings of the MCTD Board of Directors, from November 2004 through June 2005.

Copies of the payment history and bus service performance spreadsheets, as well as the agendas and minutes noted above, are available in the Office of the District Secretary.

At the meeting, Celia Kupersmith provided an update on recent actions by the MCTD. She stated that MCTD is considering eliminating the free Ride and Roll Program and reducing the youth fare from $1.50 to $1.00, and that staff will be presenting a report to the Finance-Auditing Committee following this meeting of the Transportation Committee regarding a public hearing on this matter.  She stated that MCTD is also considering adding as Marin local service routes, Routes 117, 123 and 127, the three bus routes that provide service to schools in the Larkspur and Ross School Districts.  She further stated that after MCTD takes its action regarding these school routes, staff will recommend that the Board take formal action on amending the Agreement for Marin Local Service.  She also noted that she has been actively communicating with MCTD staff to develop a mutually beneficial plan for Golden Gate Transit to continue as MCTD’s local service provider, and that staff will prepare a formal recommendation for discussion by the Board of Directors in fall 2005.

Action by the Board – None Required

   
5. Public Comment
   
  There was no public comment.
   
6. Adjournment
   
  All business having been concluded, the meeting was adjourned at 10:30 a.m.
   

Respectfully submitted,

/s/ Leah C. Shahum, Acting Chair

Transportation Committee