August 7, 2009

 

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 of Supervisors Chambers, County of Sonoma, Santa Rosa, California, on Friday, August 7, 2009, at 10:00 a.m., Acting Chair Kerns presiding.

Committee Members Present (6): Acting Chair Kerns; Vice Chair Cochran; Directors Brown, Pahre and Sobel; President Boro (Ex Officio)

Committee Members Absent (3): Directors Grosboll, McGlashan and Snyder

Other Directors Present (3): Directors Moylan and Stroeh; First Vice President Reilly

Staff Present: General Manager Celia G. Kupersmith; District Engineer Denis J. Mulligan; Secretary of the District Janet S. Tarantino; Attorney David J. Miller; Deputy General Manager/ Bridge Division Kary H. Witt; Deputy General Manager/Bus Transit Division Teri W. Mantony; Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Z. Wayne Johnson; Assistant Clerk of the Board Lona Franklin

Visitors Present: Carol Anne Carroll, Corey, Canapery & Galanis Research

     
1. Report of the District Advisory Committees
     
  a.

Advisory Committee on Accessibility (ACA)

The agenda for the July 16, 2009, meeting, and the minutes of the June 18, 2009, 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 (BPAC)

There was no meeting of the Bus Passengers Advisory Committee in July 2009.

     
  c.

Ferry Passengers Advisory Committee (FPAC)

There was no meeting of the Ferry Passengers Advisory Committee in July, 2009. In addition, no meeting was scheduled for August, 2009. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be Monday, September 14, 2009, at the regular meeting location, Pier One, Port of San Francisco, Bayside Rooms 3 and 4.

Action by the Board – None Required

     
2.
Presentation by Consultant Corey, Canapary & Galanis Research on Results of the Regional Bus and Ferry Passenger Survey
     
  a. Staff Report
     
 

In a memorandum to Committee, Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Z. Wayne Johnson and General Manager Celia Kupersmith summarized the Agreement between the District and Corey, Canapary & Galanis Research, noting the total contract amount to produce the survey was $290,694.00.

The report stated that the consultant was tasked with the following items:

  • Conducting an on-board survey of regional bus and ferry passengers;
  • Conducting a telephone survey of non-users of Golden Gate Transit (GGT) Bus; and,
  • Holding focus group sessions with both users and non-users of Golden Gate services.

The report also stated that the goal of the survey was information gathering to improve service, to increase market share and efficiency and to develop innovative services using new technology. The report included a PowerPoint presentation which summarized survey findings. The report also stated that this survey was the first of its kind since 1985 and that there was no associated fiscal impact.

Copies of the staff report, as well as the PowerPoint presentation, are available from the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

     
  b.

Presentation of PowerPoint

     
 

Acting Chair Kerns introduced Carol Anne Carroll, Quantitative Director with Corey, Canapary & Galanis Research, who provided a presentation and summary on the results of the recently completed Regional Bus and Ferry Passenger Survey (Survey). Ms. Carroll stated this Survey sought to define customers and their perceptions of the District’s strengths and services, both quantitatively and qualitatively.

Ms. Carroll stated that most of those surveyed were Marin County, San Francisco City and County and Sonoma County residents. The median age was 41-51 years, with local ferry customers having the highest mean household incomes among respondents. She stated that the Survey found a large percentage of users walk to reach the bus and ferry, and that driving and being dropped off comprised the next largest groups. She stated that “choice” ridership designated those who have the option to drive, but who choose to use bus or ferry instead. She stated that results showed overall choice ridership on GGT was 68% and on Golden Gate Ferry was 88%. Overall satisfaction was rated 3.92 and 4.15, respectively, on a 5.00 scale, with “5.00” indicating “very satisfied” and “1.00” indicating “very dissatisfied.” She stated that other service attributes, such as sense of security, cleanliness, professionalism/courtesy of drivers and proximity of terminals to destinations, were also rated. All attributes rated higher than 4.00 on the 5.00 scale.

Ms. Carroll stated that individuals who had driven over the Golden Gate Bridge and were not regular users of transit were surveyed by random telephone number surveys of landlines and cell phones in Marin and Sonoma Counties. She stated that knowledge of transit resources was surveyed, as well as attitudes toward transit and ferry. She noted that environmental improvement was a key motivator for people to use transit, with the most favorable groups being young drivers, renters, commuters and people who work from home. Ms. Carroll stated that environmental concerns, cost and amount of time to use transit are some of the factors considered by potential riders. She stated that both riders and non-riders reported feeling enthusiastic about free Wi-Fi availability on buses and ferries. She stated that both bus and ferry riders reported favorably about comfort levels.

Discussion ensued, including the following comments and inquiries:

  • Director Sobel made the following comments and inquiries:
    • He inquired as to methodology of data collection. In response, Ms. Carroll stated that sampling was done at all times of day in both north- and south-bound directions. She stated that for buses, an on-board surveyor distributed surveys on selected routes and for ferries, the survey was taken on a single, predetermined level on a number of different ferries, to assure a good cross section of responses. She stated that focus groups surveyed included regular and occasional transit and ferry users, non-users and reverse commuters.
    • He inquired as to whether the survey provided information about mean income changes from southern areas to northern areas and the degree to which income affects the decision to take public transportation rather than drive. In response, Ms. Carroll stated that the survey report does provide this information. She noted that the complete report breaks down income level data geographically, as well as by route, and summarizes the differences in income among the areas where data were collected.
    • He inquired as to whether the survey provided respondents the option to provide their names so that staff could reply. Ms. Carroll stated that this option was provided and District staff will be able to access the results.
  • Director Brown made the following comments and inquiries:
    • He inquired as to overall satisfaction among those surveyed. In response, Ms. Carroll stated that the overall satisfaction rate was 80%.
    • He inquired as to a context for survey results and commented that knowing whether other transit services were comparable would increase understanding of the survey results. He noted that GGT’s on-time rate was 90% or above. In response, Ms. Kupersmith acknowledged that the on-time rate was very high. She stated that GGT is a small, regional service, and the individuals surveyed were regional riders and members of focus groups. By contrast, SF MUNI is a large, local service. She stated that the two services are fundamentally dissimilar and that comparative conclusions should not be drawn from the results of this Survey. She stated that riders who use local services might respond differently to a similar Survey. She noted that choice ridership on GGT is very high.
  • Director Reilly inquired as to whether any results stood out or were unexpected. In response, Mr. Zahradnik stated that the surprises were pleasant ones, and that ratings between 4.00 and 5.00 meant users were satisfied or very satisfied. He stated that Survey findings validated many assumptions made over the years. He explained that while consultants perform data collection, the District owns this data and will be able to use it for purposes of planning and marketing.
  • President Boro made the following comments and inquiries:
    • He inquired as to whether Corey, Canapery & Galanis Research had done similar studies for other agencies. In response, Ms. Carroll stated affirmatively that surveys had been done for SamTrans, BART, Caltrain, CTA and AC Transit, as well as others.
    • He inquired as to whether GGT overall results were higher compared to the other systems for which surveys had been done. In response, Ms. Carroll stated that to accurately answer that question in a statistically sound manner, the same survey would have to have been administered across the other agencies.
    • He commented that reverse commuters had compared GGT to other services and that their experiences were positive. He directed the District to prepare a press release and to convey the Board’s appreciation to District staff and others who have made the success of GGT possible. Ms. Kupersmith stated that the information would be provided to the public and the press.
  • Director Pahre made the following comments and inquiries:
    • She inquired as to whether information was available as to the distance walkers covered in order to reach transit locations. In response, Ms. Carroll stated that respondents were asked their starting and ending points of travel, and that the necessary data have already been collected and results are available for geo-coding.
    • She commented that the results of this Survey validate the work of the District and would be motivational to employees. In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated her agreement and noted that with the results of this Survey being public, the information could now be shared with employees.
  • Acting Chair Kerns stated that the high number of people walking to transit locations indicated Transit Oriented Development was beginning to work and that access points were located close enough to where people live and work that they were comfortable walking to them.
  • Director Stroeh noted that in areas where buses circulate throughout subdivisions, users could limit walking distances.
  • Director Moylan commented that income levels could affect the choice of whether or not to use public transportation as well as whether to choose bus or ferry.

Ms. Mantony stated that customer service meetings were scheduled weekly and the results of this Survey would be presented there. She acknowledged the District’s Union partners, stating that, by working together, procedures have been improved and results documented.

At the conclusion of discussion, Ms. Kupersmith stated the results of the Survey reflected well on the District’s front line service providers and other employees. She noted that high capacity buses had been assigned to long distance commuter routes with excellent results. She further stated that the knowledge that many people walk to catch public transit would aid future planning decisions.

Action by the Board – None required

     
3.

Authorize Execution of the FY 09/10 Inter-County Paratransit Services Agreement with the Marin County Transit District

In a memorandum to Committee, Deputy General Manager/Bus Transit Division Teri Mantony and General Manager Celia Kupersmith presented staff’s recommendation to authorize execution of a one-year Agreement with the Marin County Transit District for the provision of inter-county paratransit services by its local paratransit service contractor, Whistlestop Wheels, to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and to reflect the principles of the Marin Local Fixed Route Bus Agreement (ending June 30, 2017), for a total cost of $1,280,382.00, effective July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010.

The staff report described the contract relationship history between the parties, and stated that the proposed Agreement would continue terms and conditions of previous Inter-County Paratransit Agreements, reflecting principles of the Marin Local Fixed Route Bus Agreement (effective through June 30, 2017).

The staff report stated that the Agreement provides for compensation to MCTD of $394,536.00 for operating expenses for paratransit services, plus $32.07 per hour of service to a maximum of $17,691.00. Fuel costs included were $129,591.00, and the District’s share of radio costs was estimated to be $15,403.00. The staff report showed total combined, one-time expenses shared between the District and Marin Transit to be $173,454.00, for procurement of additional vehicles and mobile data terminals. The report concluded that the total cost of the 2009/2010 Agreement would be $1,280,382.00.

Copies of the staff report are available from the Office of the District Secretary, and on the District’s web site.

Staff recommended and the Committee concurred by motion made and seconded by Directors MOYLAN/BORO 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 a one-year Agreement with the Marin County Transit District, for the provision of inter-county paratransit services by its local paratransit service contractor, Whistlestop Wheels, to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and to reflect the principles of the Marin Local Fixed Route Bus Agreement (ending June 30, 2017), for a total cost of $1,280,382.00, effective July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2010.

Action by the Board at its meeting of August 14, 2009 – Resolution
NON-CONSENT CALENDAR

AYES (9): Acting Chair Kerns; Vice Chair Cochran; Directors Brown, Moylan, Pahre, Sobel and Stroeh; First Vice President Reilly; President Boro
NOES (0): None
ABSENT (3): Grosboll, McGlashan and Snyder

     
4.

Authorize Establishment of a Reciprocal Transfer Arrangement with Sonoma County Transit and Santa Rosa CityBus and, Amend Master Ordinance 2009 Accordingly

In a memorandum to Committee, Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Z. Wayne Johnson and General Manager Celia Kupersmith presented staff’s recommendation to authorize establishment of a reciprocal transfer arrangement with Sonoma County Transit (SCT) and Santa Rosa CityBus (SRCB) to allow for a transfer credit of $1.00 for adults, or $.50 for youth, seniors and persons with disabilities, for all transfers made from Sonoma County Transit and Santa Rosa CityBus to GGT, and amend the Master Ordinance accordingly.

The staff report provided a brief history of the need for development of the Inter-County Sonoma SuperPass, a discount transfer which ended in June 2009. The report stated that this Reciprocal Transfer Arrangement would replace the Inter-County Sonoma SuperPass. The report recommended that a $1.00 credit for all transfers made from SCT to GGT be established, to replace the formerly offered Inter-County Sonoma SuperPass, and that the same discount be extended to SRCB transfers. In conclusion, the staff report estimated a $13,900.00 annual impact from the transfer credit. The report further estimated that two new round-trip regional passengers per day as a result of the credit would be sufficient to offset this impact. The report stated that, currently, transfers average thirteen per day from GGT to SCT and twenty-five per day from GGT to SRCB. Copies of the staff report are available from the Office of the District Secretary, and on the District’s web site.

During the meeting, Alan Zahradnik explained the history behind the proposed arrangement, stating that, in 2003, GGT service was decreased due to low ridership and a shuttle service was provided to cover the eliminated service. In order to eliminate the need for users to pay two fares, an arrangement with SCT was put into place to provide a transfer credit. At that time, SCT used a “super-pass” to provide a transfer credit but, subsequently, the program was discontinued. He noted that the credit remains at only $.10 today. However, after reviewing all inter-operative programs in Sonoma County, GGT has developed a replacement program. Mr. Zahradnik stated that staff recommends establishment of a $1.00 credit for adults and a $.50 credit for youth, seniors and persons with disabilities, in place of the $.10 credit, for transfers from SCT or SRCB to GGT.

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

RECOMMENDATION

The Transportation Committee recommends that the Board of Directors authorize establishment of a Reciprocal Transfer Arrangement with Sonoma County Transit and Santa Rosa CityBus to allow for a transfer credit of $1.00 for adults and $.50 for youth, seniors and persons with disabilities, for all transfers made from Sonoma County Transit and Santa Rosa CityBus to Golden Gate Transit; and, amend Master Ordinance 2009 accordingly.

Action by the Board at its meeting of August 14, 2009 – Ordinance
NON-CONSENT CALENDAR

AYES (9): Acting Chair Kerns; Vice Chair Cochran; Directors Brown, Moylan, Pahre, Sobel and Stroeh; First Vice President Reilly; President Boro
NOES (0): None
ABSENT (3): Grosboll, McGlashan and Snyder

     
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 (Marin Transit) was furnished to the Transportation Committee. The report included the following elements:

  a.
A spreadsheet from the Planning Department outlining GGT bus service performance of both District regional routes and Marin Transit local routes, for the month of June 2009; and,
  b.

A spreadsheet from the Auditor-Controller outlining the history of payments made from August 1, 2008 to June 1, 2009 by Marin Transit 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:
  a. Marin Transit Agenda for July 13, 2009, Board Meeting;
  b. Marin Transit Minutes for June 15, 2009, Board Meeting;
  c. Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) Executive Committee Agenda for July 13, 2009; and,
  d. TAM Draft Executive Committee Minutes for June 8, 2009.
   
 

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

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 11:00 a.m.

     

 

Respectfully submitted,

/s/ Mike Kerns, Acting Chair
Transportation Committee