March 9, 2006

(For Board: March 24, 2006)

REPORT OF THE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE

Honorable Board of Directors
Golden Gate Bridge, Highway
  and Transportation District

Honorable Members:

A meeting of the Transportation Committee was held in the Board Room, Administration Building, Toll Plaza, San Francisco, California, on Thursday, March 9, 2006, at 10:00 a.m., Chair Brown presiding.

Committee Members Present (5): Chair Brown; Vice Chair Shahum; Directors Cochran, Moylan and Newhouse Segal

Committee Members Absent (4): Director Kerns, Murray and Pahre; President Middlebrook (Ex Officio)

Other Directors Present (1): Director Eddie

Staff Present: General Manager Celia G. Kupersmith; District Engineer Denis J. Mulligan; Auditor-Controller Joseph M. Wire; Secretary of the District Janet S. Tarantino; Attorney David J. Miller; Deputy General Manager/Bridge Kary H. Witt; Division 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; Risk Management and Safety Director William Stafford; Principal Planner Ron Downing; Executive Assistant to the General Manager Amorette Ko; Assistant Clerk of the Board Karen B. Engbretson

Visitors Present: Anthony R. Withington, President, Amalgamated Transit Union, Local No. 1575; Frederick Robinson, Marsh Risk and Insurance Services

     
1. Report of the District Advisory Committees
     
  a.

Advisory Committee on Accessibility (ACA)

     
   
The agendas for the February 16, 2006, meeting and the minutes of the December 15, 2005, meeting of the Advisory Committee on Accessibility were furnished to the Transportation Committee.  Copies are available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.
     
  b. Bus Passengers Advisory Committee
     
   
The agenda for the February 15, 2006, meeting and the minutes of the December 7, 2005, meeting of the Bus Passengers Advisory Committee were furnished to the Transportation Committee.  Copies are available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.
     
  c. Ferry Passengers Advisory Committee
     
   

The agenda for the February 1, 2006, meeting and the minutes of the January 4, 2006, meeting of the Ferry Passengers Advisory Committee were furnished to the Transportation Committee.  Copies are available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

At the meeting, General Manager Celia Kupersmith stated that the members of the Ferry Passengers Advisory Committee had provided a comment on the proposed Five-Year Fare Program, with a recommendation to increase fares using 25-cent increments rather than 5-cent increments.

Action by the Board - None Required

     
2. General Update on Bus and Ferry Service Ridership Trends
     
 
General Manager Celia Kupersmith advised that this item would be continued to the April 13, 2006, meeting of the Transportation Committee.
     
3. Authorize Execution of an Agreement with the County of Marin to Operate the Second Year of the Muir Woods Shuttle Bus Demonstration Project
     
 

In a memorandum to Committee, Principal Planner Ron Downing, Planning Director Alan Zahradnik and General Manager Celia Kupersmith provided a staff recommendation to operate the second year of the Muir Woods Shuttle Bus Demonstration Project. The report stated that in a letter dated March 1, 2006, the District received a request from the County of Marin (County), to operate the demonstration shuttle bus service to the Muir Woods recreation area in southern Marin County. The report also stated that the Board of Directors, by Resolution No. 2005-034 at its April 22, 2005 meeting, approved the first year of the Muir Woods Shuttle Bus Demonstration Project, which was fully funded by the County with federal grant funding.

The report stated that for the 2006 summer season, the County is requesting that the level of shuttle bus service for this summer season be expanded to include service on weekends, holidays (including Monday, July 3, 2006) between Memorial Day weekend (Saturday, May 27, 2006) and Labor Day (Monday, September 4, 2006). The County is also requesting that several modifications be made to the shuttle bus service, based on the experience with last year’s shuttle bus demonstration project, as follows: (1) operate at an expanded 30 minute frequency throughout the day, between 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.; (2) provide more service in the late afternoon to mitigate the need to provide backup service for visitors returning from Muir Woods; (3) print a greater quantity of shuttle bus service brochures at the beginning of the summer; (4) provide an increased level of marketing and public outreach for the service; and, (5) collect a nominal fare for the shuttle bus service. The report stated that the total project costs to provide this service for the 2006 summer season are estimated at $133,217, to include operating costs, vehicle lease costs and costs for an expanded marketing/promotional program. The report noted that operating costs were estimated using the appropriate hourly rates from the five-year agreement with the Marin County Transit District that will go into effect May 1, 2006. The County will fully reimburse the District for all costs incurred in providing the Muir Woods Shuttle Bus Demonstration Project. Any passenger fare revenues collected for the shuttle bus service would be credited back to the County to partially offset the service costs.

The report also stated that because of the steep grades and winding roads along the shuttle bus route, the District will have to lease two small transit buses (30 to 35 feet long by 96 inches wide) as was done for last year’s service. The report further stated that in order to have the service operational by May 27, final policy-level approvals to do the service and determination of the service level to be provided must occur prior to April 1, 2006. Staff recommends that Board approve participation in this project by authorizing execution of an agreement with the County to operate the second year of the Muir Woods Shuttle Bus Demonstration Project, which will be considered by the County at its March 28, 2006 meeting. A copy of the report is available from the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

At the meeting, Celia Kupersmith introduced the topic and then turned it over to Principal Planner Ron Downing. Mr. Downing summarized the staff recommendation, describing some of the changes in service that were developed based on the experience with the first year of the Muir Woods Shuttle Bus Demonstration Project during the summer of 2005. He stated that the marketing and promotional budget for the project has significantly increased this year, and that there will be increased outreach to hotel concierges and local visitors’ bureaus to promote the Muir Woods Shuttle Bus service. He noted that the County declined to extend the shuttle bus service to connect with the Sausalito Ferry, due to costs associated with the service extension. He further stated that County and District staffs are considering charging a nominal fare of $1.00 each way, which would be collected as a $2 westbound-only fare on the way to Muir Woods, with no fare collected on the return trip.

 

Discussion ensued, including the following:

  • Director Shahum expressed her support for the Muir Woods Shuttle Bus Demonstration Project and inquired as to whether the County would consider making the service permanent.  In response, Celia Kupersmith stated that if the shuttle bus service were to be made permanent, the County would need to secure additional grant funding.  She noted that the current federal grant for the demonstration project is for three years only.
  • Director Cochran inquired as to how many riders used the shuttle bus service during the 2005 summer season.  In response, Mr. Downing stated that over 10,000 riders used the service last year.
  • Director Eddie inquired as to whether it would be more cost effective to purchase the smaller 30-foot buses rather than leasing them.  In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that since it is indefinite how long the shuttle bus demonstration project will be operating, it would be more cost effective to lease the buses needed for the service.
 
Staff recommended and the Committee concurred by motion made and seconded by Directors SHAHUM/COCHRAN to forward the following recommendation to the Board of Directors for its consideration:
   
 
RECOMMENDATION
     
 

The Transportation Committee recommends that the Board of Directors authorize execution of an agreement with the County of Marin to operate the second year of the Muir Woods Shuttle Bus Demonstration project, between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, Saturday, May 27, 2006, through Monday, September 4, 2006, with the understanding that the service will cost approximately $133,217, to be paid for by the County of Marin.

Action by the Board - Resolution

NON-CONSENT CALENDAR

     
 

AYES (5):       Chair Brown; Vice Chair Shahum; Directors Cochran, Moylan and Newhouse Segal
NOES (0):      None
ABSENT (4): Director Kerns, Murray and Pahre; President Middlebrook (Ex Officio)

[Note:  The above recommendation was forwarded to the Board of Directors meeting of March 10, 2006, 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 Marin Local Service contract with the Marin County Transit District (MCTD) was furnished to the Transportation Committee.  The report included the following elements:

  1. 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 month of January 2006; and,
  2. 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.

Due to the high volume of agendas and minutes from Marin County agencies related to this item, hard copies of those items were not provided to the Committee. Instead, electronic versions of the following items were posted on the District’s web site:

  1. Agenda of the February 28, 2006, meeting of MCTD;
  2. Agenda of the February 7, 2006, meeting of MCTD;
  3. Minutes of February 7, 2006, meeting of MCTD;
  4. Agenda of the February 23, 2006, meeting of the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM);
  5. Minutes of the January 26, 2006, meeting of TAM; and,
  6. Agenda and minutes of the February 8, 2006, meeting of the TAM Executive Committee.

Copies of all of the above-listed items are available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

At the meeting, Celia Kupersmith described the positive working relationship between the District and MCTD regarding the new five-year agreement with the Marin County Transit District that will go into effect May 1, 2006. She reported that MCTD is currently undertaking the public process to receive input on its Short-Range Transit Plan and its local bus service plan.

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 10:20 a.m.
     

Respectfully submitted,

/s/ Harold C. Brown, Jr., Chair

Transportation Committee