July 13, 2006
(For Board: August 11, 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, July 13, 2006, at 10:00 a.m., Chair Brown presiding.

Committee Members Present (7): Chair Brown; Vice Chair Kerns; Directors Cochran, Eddie, Murray and Newhouse Segal; President Middlebrook (Ex Officio). Director Eddie was appointed Committee member Pro Tem for this meeting only.

Committee Members Absent (2): Directors Pahre and Moylan

Other Directors Present (2): Directors Boro and Stroeh

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 Division Kary H. Witt; Deputy General Manager/Bus Division Susan C. Chiaroni; Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Teri W. Mantony; Public Affairs Director Mary C. Currie; Information Systems Director Robert Haar; Marketing and Communications Director Kellee J. Hopper; Planning Director Alan R. Zahradnik; Principal Planner Ron Downing; Paratransit Coordinator/Planner Cynthia B. Petersen; Executive Assistant to the General Manager Amorette Ko; Assistant Clerk of the Board Karen B. Engbretson

Visitors Present: Amy Van Doren, Transit Planning Manager, Marin County Transit District; Craig T. Yates, Chair, Advisory Committee on Accessibility

       
1. Report of the District Advisory Committees
       
  a. Advisory Committee on Accessibility
       
   
The agenda for the June 15, 2006 meeting and the minutes of the May 18, 2006, meeting of the Advisory Committee on Accessibility were furnished to the Transportation Committee.  In addition, a copy of the Advisory Committee on Accessibility Membership and Voting Requirements, adopted May 18, 2006, was also furnished to the Transportation Committee.  Copies are available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.
       
    1.a.1.
Approve Revisions to the Advisory Committee on Accessibility’s Membership and Voting Requirements
       
     

In a memorandum to Committee, Paratransit Coordinator Cynthia B. Petersen, Director of Planning Alan R. Zahradnik and General Manager Celia G. Kupersmith provided a report with a recommendation to revise the rules pertaining to the membership and voting requirements of the Advisory Committee on Accessibility (ACA). The report stated that at its meeting of May 18, 2006, the ACA adopted the updated Advisory Committee on Accessibility Membership and Voting Requirements, which were developed and endorsed by ACA members. The report also stated that the revised rules update ACA’s original membership and voting requirements, which were established by the Board of Directors by Resolution No. 89-319 at its meeting of December 22, 1989.

Staff recommends approval of the proposed revisions to the ACA’s membership and voting requirements. A copy of the staff report is available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

At the meeting, Ms. Kupersmith briefly described the background of the ACA, which was formed in 1989. She stated that since the Board of Directors established ACA’s original rules regarding membership and voting requirements, it is appropriate for the Board to take action to revise those rules.

       
      Public Comment
       
     

Craig Yates, the Chair of the ACA described the purpose of the proposed revisions, which address the issues of representation, quorum and control of the presence and absence of ACA members. Mr. Yates stated that since these issues have not been revisited in the 17 years since the formation of ACA, it is suitable to update the rules at this time.

Staff recommended and the Committee concurred by motion made and seconded by Directors BORO/KERNS 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 following revisions to the business rules and procedures of the Advisory Committee on Accessibility, as adopted by the Advisory Committee on Accessibility on May 18, 2006, and as outlined in detail in Attachment A, Advisory Committee on Accessibility Membership and Voting Requirements:
     
  1. Add “qualify for Americans with Disabilities (ADA) paratransit services” to the list of criteria for ACA membership.
  2. Add “be a user of Golden Gate Transit (GGT) or Marin County Transit District (MCTD) bus, paratransit or ferry service” to the list of criteria for being a voting member of the ACA.
  3. Add the category of Non-Voting Member (one who meets the criteria but does not use GGT or MCTD services) as a type of ACA membership.
  4. Define the number of members that constitutes a quorum of ACA members.
  5. Increase the number of unexcused absences that are allowed before a member loses one’s eligibility to vote from two to four absences within a 12-month period.
  6. Add a section defining what constitutes a leave of absence for ACA members.

    Action by the Board – Resolution
    NON-CONSENT CALENDAR
       
     
AYES (7):   Chair Brown; Vice Chair Kerns; Directors Cochran, Eddie, Murray and Newhouse Segal; President Middlebrook (Ex Officio)
NOES (0):      None
ABSENT (2): Directors Pahre and Moylan
       
  b. Bus Passengers Advisory Committee
       
   

A Notice of Meeting Cancellation for the June 21, 2006, meeting of the Bus Passenger Advisory Committee was furnished to the Transportation Committee.  Copies are available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

Action by the Board – None Required

       
  c. Ferry Passengers Advisory Committee
       
   

A Notice of Meeting Cancellation for the June 7, 2006, meeting of the Ferry Passengers Advisory Committee was furnished to the Transportation Committee.  Copies are available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

Action by the Board – None Required

       
2. Report by Marin County Transit District Relative to Upcoming Changes to Marin Local Service Routes
       
 
Marin County Transit District (MCTD) Transit Planning Manager Amy Van Doren presented a PowerPoint slide show on the upcoming changes to local service routes provided by the MCTD within Marin County.  These changes to local bus service, contained in MCTD’s 2006 Draft Service Plan (Service Plan), are scheduled to become effective September 10, 2006.  As an introduction, Ms. Van Doren described the following aspects of the new Service Plan, as follows:
 
  • Responds to Marin County Measure A priorities and performance standards;
  • Meets productivity standards based on passengers per hour;
  • Meets cost effectiveness standards based on subsidy per trip;
  • Provides seamless connections to regional service;
  • Fills a gap in the bus transit network by serving major destinations in Marin County;
  • Relieves congestion as measured in total ridership and eliminates pass-ups;
  • Promotes environmental justice based on demographic analysis; and,
  • Leverages outside funding, including federal, state, and Regional Measure 2 toll revenue.
       
 

Ms. Van Doren noted that the changes to local service were based on the following guiding principles:

 
  • Increase frequency on key corridors to maximize ridership;
  • Enhance connectivity to reduce transfers and improve connections;
  • Allow for appropriately sized vehicles;
  • Match service with travel demand;
  • Enhance school service to meet new school service standards developed as part of the plan; and,
  • Better match performance standards for both productivity and coverage.
       
 

Ms. Van Doren provided a brief summary of MCTD’s new local transit system, which entails eliminating six local routes, adding six new routes, modifying four routes, adding three new small bus routes and maintaining two routes in their current configuration.  Ms. Van Doren then proceeded to outline specific service improvements in three areas of Marin County: Novato, Central Marin and Southern Marin.  She also described the outreach and marketing activities planned for the launch of the new Service Plan.  She noted that the MCTD will initiate a contest to identify a public name, logo, and color scheme for the local transit system, with extensive media outreach. 

In conclusion, Ms. Van Doren summarized the Service Plan, and commended the District for the successful collaboration between the staffs of the District and the MCTD in all facets of service development, scheduling, marketing and promotion.  A copy of the PowerPoint presentation is available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

Discussion ensued, including the following:

       
 
  • Director Murray suggested the outreach efforts include signage at individual MCTD bus stops showing the schedule and frequency of the new local bus routes, in order to better inform the public about the new service.  In response, Ms. Van Doren stated that the MCTD plans to provide such signage at major bus stops and transfer points in the near future, with a long-term goal to provide signage at the majority of local bus stops.
       
 
  • President Middlebrook inquired regarding the shuttle routes that would use small buses.  In response, Ms. Van Doren explained that such routes with light demand would utilize small transit vehicles under contract by another service provider, since Golden Gate Transit’s fleet does not presently include such small vehicles.
       
 
  • Director Boro inquired as to which buses the MCTD’s new local transit service logo would appear on, and whether or not it would appear only on buses dedicated and contracted exclusively for Marin local service.  In response, Ms. Kupersmith explained that MCTD does not have enough buses to create a dedicated local service bus fleet, and GGT assigns buses throughout the system to both local and regional routes.  Therefore, she noted, in order to maintain operational flexibility, MCTD’s new transit logo would be integrated on most of GGT buses.  She further stated that it is anticipated that some of these “double-logo” buses would operate on GGT regional routes.
       
 
  • Chair Brown cautioned that having separate logos may portend a tendency to “go our separate ways,” and encouraged the staffs of GGT and the MCTD to continue to maintain the collaborative working relationship between the two agencies.

Action by the Board – None Required

       
3. Approve the Use of Transfers between Golden Gate Transit Bus Service and Marin County Transit District Shuttle Service for Marin Local Travel and Amend Master Ordinance 2006 Accordingly
       
 

In a memorandum to Committee, Principal Planner Ron Downing, Director of Planning Alan R. Zahradnik, Deputy General Manager/Bus Division Susan C. Chiaroni and General Manager Celia G. Kupersmith provided staff’s recommendation to approve the use of transfers between Golden Gate Transit (GGT) bus service and Marin County Transit District (MCTD) shuttle service for local travel within Marin County. The report stated that in a letter dated July 6, 2006, the MCTD requested free transfer privileges between its rural transit and local shuttle routes and GGT-operated bus routes. These transfer privileges would be restricted to free transfers for local Marin County travel only on the West Marin Stage rural route, as well as on the new local shuttle routes 221, 233 and 259, which are provided by an operator other than GGT under separate contract with the MCTD. Passengers from these rural and shuttle services would pay a new fare when boarding GGT regional bus routes and Golden Gate Ferry for travel outside of Marin County.


The report also stated that the proposed transfer arrangement would provide for all passengers who wish to transfer from MCTD’s local shuttle routes or the West Marin Stage service to pay a $2.00 local fare on that vehicle and obtain a transfer from the driver that will be punched “Marin Local,” prohibiting travel outside Marin County by use of this transfer. When this local transfer is presented to the bus driver on a GGT-operated route, the passenger would be allowed free continuing travel to other points in Marin County. MCTD would keep the fare revenue collected on the local shuttle route or the West Marin Stage bus. In the reverse direction, a passenger would pay a $2.00 local Marin fare upon boarding a GGT-operated bus and receive a regular GGT transfer for free continuing travel on the local shuttle route or the West Marin Stage bus. In this case, GGT would keep the fare revenue if the transfer were issued on a GGT regional route, or credit that revenue to MCTD if it were issued on a MCTD local route operated by GGT.


The report described the fiscal impact of the proposed free transfer privileges, noting that the MCTD shuttle services that would use these transfers are low-volume routes, typically operated with very small 13-passenger transit vehicles, and that free transfer arrangement could result in approximately $11,000 per year in additional fare revenues. No additional costs are associated with this proposed local transfer arrangement since printing expenses for local transfers are included in GGT’s normal transfer printing process. It is recommended that the proposed transfer arrangement be approved, since it is consistent with the District’s and the MCTD’s goals to provide seamless local and regional transit services to the public. A copy of the staff report is available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.


At the meeting, Ms. Kupersmith briefly summarized the staff report, and noted that the presentation offered by Ms. Van Doren on MCTD’s new Service Plan under Agenda Item No. 2, above, provided a context for this action item on the proposed free transfer arrangement. Ms. Kupersmith also stated that the arrangement could result in a small increase in District revenues from passengers that transfer from a local shuttle to a regional GGT route and then pay the additional fare to travel outside of Marin County. Mr. Zahradnik noted that under MCTD’s new Service Plan, GGT’s regional routes will still provide the primary “trunk line” service along the U.S. Highway 101 corridor, and that the proposed transfer arrangement would likely increase local ridership on GGT’s regional routes.

Discussion ensued, including the following:

       
 
  • President Middlebrook inquired regarding the logistics of the transfer arrangements.  In response, Mr. Zahradnik explained that the free transfer privileges will be limited to travel within Marin County.  He also noted that the arrangement could result in a potential fare discount for those passengers that ride a local route to the lowest-paying regional fare zone (such as Zone 2), pay the additional fare and then continue their trip as a regional bus trip.  Mr. Zahradnik further stated that staff would be presenting a report on the issue of coordinated inter-operator transfer privileges for inter-county travel beyond Marin County to the Committee at a later date.
       
 
Staff recommended and the Committee concurred by motion made and seconded by Directors STROEH/EDDIE 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 use of transfers between Golden Gate Transit bus service and Marin County Transit District rural transit and local shuttle services for continuing travel within Marin County only, and amend Master Ordinance 2006 accordingly.

Action by the Board – Ordinance
NON-CONSENT CALENDAR

       
 
AYES (7):     Chair Brown; Vice Chair Kerns; Directors Cochran, Eddie, Murray and Newhouse Segal; President Middlebrook (Ex Officio)
NOES (0):      None
ABSENT (2): Directors Pahre and Moylan
       
 

[Note:  The above recommendation will be forwarded to the Board of Directors meeting of July 14, 2006, for action.]

       
4.
Approve the FY 06/07 Agreement with the Marin County Transit District for Provision of Inter-county Paratransit Service
       
 

In a memorandum to Committee, Paratransit Coordinator Cynthia B. Petersen, Director of Planning Alan R. Zahradnik, Deputy General Manager/Bus Division Susan C. Chiaroni and General Manager Celia G. Kupersmith provided staff’s recommendation to approve the FY 06/07 Agreement between the District and the Marin County Transit District (MCTD) for Inter-county Paratransit Service (FY 06/07 Paratransit Agreement). The report stated that the FY 06/07 Paratransit Agreement has been developed by the District and the MCTD staffs to continue the terms and conditions of previous Inter-county Paratransit Agreements and to reflect the principles of the new Agreement for Marin Local Bus Service. The report also stated that on July 11, 2006, the MCTD approved its FY 06/07 contract with Marin Senior Coordinating Council/Whistlestop Wheels (Whistlestop) for paratransit services throughout Marin County. The FY 06/07 Paratransit Agreement between the District and the MCTD reflects the results of MCTD’s contract with Whistlestop and applies retroactively to July 1, 2006.

The report explained that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not allow denials of mandated paratransit service and requires, at a minimum, that transit operators provide special paratransit services to ADA-eligible passengers to and from locations within three-quarters of a mile on either side and within the comparable service hours, of that agency’s non-commute fixed bus routes. The report described how the paratransit costs are allocated in the FY 06/07 Paratransit Agreement between the MCTD and the District, based on the line-item budget from the paratransit contractor, Whistlestop, and based on the latest fuel cost estimates. The report noted that in the new relationship with the MCTD, the District will pay the MCTD a combined total of $995,233 for the inter-county paratransit expense, which reflects a 6.4% increase over the FY 05/06 paratransit budget. This increase is attributed to increased fuel, facility rental, insurance, technical support and system equipment costs, as well as costs for an additional part-time mechanic position. The report further stated that the increased paratransit budget for FY 06/07 also reflects costs associated with increased service hours and capacity, which have been added to ensure that there are no denials of ADA-mandated paratransit service. The report also included a chart depicting the demand of ADA paratransit trips, and the percentage by which this demand is increasing for both local and inter-county paratransit service. It is recommended that the Committee approve the FY 06/07 Paratransit Agreement, as described above. A copy of the staff report is available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

At the meeting, Celia Kupersmith briefly described the FY 06/07 Paratransit Agreement, noting that in contrast to the contractual relationship with MCTD for the Agreement for Marin Local Bus Service, the District contracts with MCTD to provide paratransit service for the District.

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

       
 

RECOMMENDATION

       
 

The Transportation Committee recommends that the Board of Directors approve a 12-month Agreement with the Marin County Transit District for provision of inter-county paratransit service, effective retroactively from July 1, 2006 through June 30, 2007.

Action by the Board – Resolution
NON-CONSENT CALENDAR

       
 
AYES (7):     Chair Brown; Vice Chair Kerns; Directors Cochran, Eddie, Murray and Newhouse Segal; President Middlebrook (Ex Officio)
NOES (0):      None
ABSENT (2): Directors Pahre and Moylan
       
 
[Note:  The above recommendation will be forwarded to the Board of Directors meeting of July 14, 2006, for action.]
       
5. 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 providing statistics regarding GGT bus service performance of both District regional routes and MCTD local routes, for the month of  May 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, under the new five-year Agreement with the MCTD for Marin Local Bus Service, which became effective on May 1, 2006.
       
 
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 June 13, 2006, meeting of MCTD;

2.           Minutes of the May 30, 2006, meeting of MCTD;

3.           Agenda and minutes of the May 23, 2006, meeting of MCTD;

4.           Agenda and minutes of the May 16, 2006, meeting of MCTD;

5.           Minutes of May 9, 2006, meeting of MCTD;

6.           Agenda of the June 22, 2006, meeting of the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM);

7.           Minutes of the May 25, 2006, meeting of TAM;

8.           Agenda and minutes of the June 14, 2006, meeting of the TAM Executive Committee; and,

9.           Minutes of the May 10, 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, Ms. Kupersmith stated that the current five-year Agreement with the MCTD for Marin Local Bus Service includes a provision to hold periodic joint agency meetings with the respective Boards of the MCTD and the District. She noted that the purpose of the joint agency meetings would be to discuss both current local bus service issues, as well as to discuss the future of the long-term relationship between the two agencies.

Discussion ensued, including the following:

       
 
  • Director Murray made the following comments and inquiries:
    • She noted that she had recently read that Governor Schwarzenegger’s revised budget includes repayment of Proposition 42 “spillover” funds, and inquired as to whether the District could receive more transit funding as a result. In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that the potential availability of additional transit funding for the District is still being worked out by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), which is currently discussing the funding priorities of several regional projects that could be recipients of such “spillover” funds. Joseph Wire added that staff would provide a report at the July 27, 2006, meeting of the Finance-Auditing Committee regarding the amount of “spillover” funds that will be available for the District’s transit operating needs.
    • She inquired as to whether the MTC would be able to fund additional “Spare the Air” free transit days, which provide an excellent marketing opportunity to encourage new public transit ridership. In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that at its Commission meeting of July 12, 2006, the MTC approved funding for one more “Spare the Air” days, and is expected to approve additional funding for three more days at its next Commission meeting on July 26, 2006.
       
 
  • Director Boro requested that at a future meeting, the Board of Directors discuss the long-term expectations of both the District and MCTD after the current five-year Agreement with the MCTD for Marin Local Bus Service expires.  He noted that as MCTD’s new transit agency flourishes, it may be prudent for the District to begin the process of exploring a continuation of the relationship between the two agencies, since the two transit systems are closely related and somewhat dependent upon each other.  In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that the future of the contractual relationship with the MCTD will be one of the topics of discussion at the upcoming Joint Board Meeting/Workshop to be held on September 8, 2006.

Action by the Board – None Required

       
6. Public Comment
       
 

There was no public comment.

       
7. Adjournment
       
 

All business having been concluded, the meeting was adjourned at 10:40 a.m.

       

 

Respectfully submitted,

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

 

Attachment:   Advisory Committee on Accessibility Membership and Voting Requirements