REPORT OF PROCEEDINGS

PUBLIC HEARING

A PROPOSAL TO ESTABLISH A FIVE-YEAR FARE PROGRAM
TO INCREASE BUS, FERRY AND PARATRANSIT FARES

MARCH 9, 2006

THE WHISTLESTOP, ACTIVITIES ROOM
930 TAMALPAIS AVENUE, SAN RAFAEL, CA

The Board of Directors of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (District) held a public hearing in the Activities Room of The Whistlestop, 930 Tamalpais Avenue, San Rafael, California, on Thursday, March 9, 2006, at 6:00 p.m., for the purpose of receiving public comment on a proposal to establish a Five-Year Fare Program to increase bus, ferry and paratransit fares.

Directors Present (8): Directors Brown, Cochran, Eddie, Martini and Stroeh; Second Vice President Boro; First Vice President Moylan; President Middlebrook

Directors Absent (11): Directors Ammiano, Dufty, Hernández, Kerns, McGoldrick, Murray, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly, Shahum and Sandoval

Staff Present: General Manager Celia G. Kupersmith; Auditor-Controller Joseph M. Wire; Secretary of the District Janet S. Tarantino; Attorney David J. Miller; Deputy General Manager/Bus Division Susan C. Chiaroni; Deputy General Manager/Ferry Division James P. Swindler; Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Teri W. Mantony; Planning Director Alan Zahradnik; Marketing and Communications Director Kellee Hopper; Customer Relations Supervisor Helen Haas; Customer Service Representative Glen Woods (Spanish Translator)

Visitors Present: David Schonbrunn, TRANSDEF

     
1. Purpose of Public Hearing
     
 
The public hearing was conducted by President Middlebrook and she announced that the purpose of this public hearing is to receive public comment relative to a proposal to establish a Five-Year Fare Program to increase bus, ferry and paratransit fares.
     
2. Public Outreach
     
 

District Secretary Janet Tarantino reported that in compliance with District policy, notices were mailed to organizations and individuals on the District’s mailing list and copies were posted in various locations on District properties. Also, in compliance with Resolution No. 2006 005, adopted on January 13, 2006, legal notices of this Public Hearing were published in the Marin Independent Journal, during the period of January 24, 2006 to January 31, 2006. The following additional public outreach was also undertaken:

  • A press release on the public hearing was issued on February 1, 8 and 13, 2006, and March 1, 2006, resulting in articles being published in several local newspapers in the District's service area;
  • Display ads were placed in the San Francisco Chronicle, Marin Independent Journal, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Commuter Times, Bay Crossings, Novato Advance, San Francisco Downtown Magazine and La Voz (Spanish-language newspaper), during the period of January 19, 2006 to February 3, 2006; and, additional ads will be placed during the period of February 23, 2006 to March 8, 2006;
  • The notice and staff reports were posted on the District’s web site and on www.511.org;
  • E-mail updates were sent to subscribers on January 30, 2006, February 13, 2006, and March 5, 2006;
  • Posters in English and Spanish were placed on Golden Gate Transit buses and ferries, at bus stops and at ferry terminals;
  • The District’s Bus Passenger Advisory Committee, Ferry Passenger Advisory Committee and Advisory Committee on Accessibility were provided a notice of the public hearing at their meetings in February 2006;
  • Seat drop notices were placed on buses and ferries on February 6, 2006, and on February 27, 2006; and,
  • Notices were sent to Hispanic Community Groups and Centers in February 2006.

The Attorney for the District confirmed that the above-described public outreach met the legal requirements for calling a public hearing.

     
3. Staff Presentation
     
 

Since there were no new members of the public in attendance at this public hearing other than a person who had been present at the March 8, 2006 public hearing, it was determined that a formal staff presentation was not necessary.

The written public hearing staff report outlined the proposal to establish a Five-Year Fare Program to increase bus, ferry and paratransit fares, effective July 1, 2006 through July 1, 2010. The Board of Directors, by Resolution No. 2006-005 at its meeting of January 13, 2006, approved setting a public hearing for the purpose of receiving public testimony on the proposal. The report stated that staff has developed a new transit fare program as a successor to the Five-Year Fare Program adopted in 1998. The objectives of the proposed fare program include increasing fare recovery as a means of continuing transit services with an appropriate level of passenger support and increasing transit fares as needed to achieve a $9 million revenue generation target to help address a projected $79 million five-year District financial shortfall. The report stated that the proposed Five-Year Fare Program would consist of annual 5% increases to fares for regional bus, ferry and complementary paratransit services, applied over a five-year period, beginning July 1, 2006. The report noted that staff will perform an annual review, concurrent with District budget development process, to determine if adjustments to the Five-Year Fare Program are necessary. The report further noted that exceptions to the Five-Year Fare Program include the special event bus and ferry service fares, local Marin bus fares set by Marin County Transit District and other service-related fares subject to separate financial performance objectives. The proposed fare increases contained in the Five-Year Fare Program are necessary to generate revenues necessary to meet projected operating expenses of District transit services. A copy of the report is available in the District Secretary’s office and on the District’s web site.

     
4. Public Comments
     
 
President Middlebrook then opened the hearing to receive public comment, noting that all comments will be entered into the record.  She stated that cards are available for those who desire to speak on the subject and that each person will be given three minutes to express their concerns.
     
  a. Written Comments
     
   

Ms. Tarantino reported that twenty-two (22) public comments had been received prior to the public hearing, and that these communications had been received by e-mail.

She summarized the comments, as follows:

  1. Two comments expressed support.
  2. Fifteen comments expressed opposition.
  3. Three comments expressed dissatisfaction with the scheduled times of the public hearings.
  4. Two general comments were received: one comment suggested changes relative to the scheduling of Golden Gate Transit Route 27, and the other comment requested that more consideration be given to the comfort of commuters traveling long distances between Sonoma County and San Francisco.
     
  b. Oral Comments
     
   
David Schonbrunn amended his oral comments made at the March 8, 2006 public hearing regarding the Doyle Drive project. He clarified that in his opinion, Golden Gate Bridge users should pay for part of the cost of rebuilding Doyle Drive through a “surcharge” rather than through existing Golden Gate Bridge toll revenue. He also expressed his concerns regarding the proposed increase in fares, noting that his organization, TRANSDEF, opposes the proposed Five-Year Fare Program because it is not tailored to minimally impact transit ridership.
     
5. Closing Remarks
     
 
President Middlebrook stated that staff would summarize all public comments received and would present a final recommendation relative to the proposal presented at this public hearing to the Finance-Auditing Committee at its regularly scheduled meeting on March 23, 2006.  She further reported that if action is taken by the Finance-Auditing Committee on March 23, 2006, the item would be presented to the full Board of Directors on Friday, March 24, 2006, for its consideration.  Both of these meetings will be held in the Board Room, Administration Building, Toll Plaza, San Francisco, California.
     
6. Conclusion
     
  All business having been concluded, the public hearing was closed at 6:10 p.m.
     

Respectfully submitted,

/s/ Janet S. Tarantino
Secretary of the District