March 11, 2010

 

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, March 11, 2010, at 10:10 a.m., Chair Brown presiding.

Committee Members Present (6): Chair Brown; Vice Chair Cochran; Directors Kerns, McGlashan and Sobel; President Boro (Ex Officio)
Committee Members Absent (3): Directors Grosboll, Pahre and Snyder
Other Directors Present (5): Directors Eddie, Moylan, Newhouse Segal, Reilly and Stroeh

Committee of the Whole Members Present (11): Directors Brown, Cochran, Kerns, McGlashan, Moylan, Newhouse Segal, Sobel and Stroeh; Second Vice President Eddie; First Vice President Janet Reilly; President Boro (Ex Officio)
Committee of the Whole Members Absent (8): Directors Campos, Chu, Dufty, Elsbernd, Grosboll, Pahre, Sanders and Snyder

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/Bus Transit Division Teri Mantony; Deputy General Manager/Ferry Transit Division James Swindler; Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Z. Wayne Johnson; Director of Planning Alan R. Zahradnik; Principal Planner Ron Downing; Executive Assistant to the General Manager Amorette Ko; Assistant Clerk of the Board Lona Franklin

Visitors Present: Marina V. Secchitano, InlandBoatmen's Union of the Pacific

   
1. Report of District Advisory Committees
     
  a.

Advisory Committee on Accessibility

There was no meeting of the Advisory Committee on Accessibility in January 2010.

     
  b.

Bus Passengers Advisory Committee

There was no meeting of the Bus Passengers Advisory Committee in January 2010.

     
  c.

Ferry Passengers Advisory Committee

The agenda for the February 8, 2010, meeting and the minutes of January 11, 2010, 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.

Action by the Board – None Required

   
2. Approve Actions Relative to A Proposal to Consider Changes to Golden Gate Transit Commute Bus Service
   
 

In a memorandum to Committee, Principal Planner Ron Downing, Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Z. Wayne Johnson, Deputy General Manager/Bus Transit Division Teri Mantony and General Manager Celia Kupersmith provided staff’s recommendation that the Board authorize the setting of a public hearing on Wednesday, May 12, 2010, at 6:00 p.m., at Whistlestop Wheels in downtown San Rafael, CA, for the purpose of receiving public comment on a proposal to eliminate duplicative and/or low ridership bus services, with the understanding that staff will conduct informational Open Houses as listed below, for the purpose of providing information, answering questions, and receiving input from the public about proposed Golden Gate Transit commute bus service changes under consideration. The staff report notes that these Open Houses will include outreach on the proposals to establish a toll for carpools and to increase multi-axle vehicle tolls:

Open House Marin County
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Santa Rosa Room
Embassy Suites
San Rafael, CA

Open House Sonoma County
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Beverly C. Wilson Hall
Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds
Petaluma, CA

Open House City and County of San Francisco
Thursday, April 15, 2010
4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Board Room
Golden Gate Bridge
Toll Plaza Building
San Francisco, CA

 
 
The staff report stated that the Board of Directors (Board), on October 30, 2009, approved the FY 09/10 Financial Plan for Achieving Long-Term Financial Stability (Plan) in order to establish a plan to address the projected $132 million five-year deficit that faces the District. Of the 33 specific initiatives approved under that Plan, Initiatives 9 and 10 call for elimination of duplicative bus service and bus trips with low ridership. The staff report detailed the following proposed actions and service alternatives for specific routes:
           
  ROUTE PROPOSED ACTION SERVICE ALTERNATIVES
           
  Route 24 (Lagunitas/Fairfax/San Francisco): Eliminate service between Lagunitas and Fairfax/Manor
(1 round trip in each peak)
West Marin Stage
           
  Route 26 (Sleepy Hollow/San Francisco):
Eliminate all service between Sleepy Hollow and San Anselmo Hub and assign SF to
remaining trips to Route 27
(5 trips)

Other GGT service on Route 24: portion of Route 26 from Hub to be kept as Route 27 trips
           
  Route 44 (Lucas Valley/San Francisco):
Eliminate all service (8 trips) Other GGT service at U.S. 101
San Francisco): bus pads and at SRTC
           
  Route 58 (Novato/Hamilton/San Francisco):
Eliminate segment to Sunset Parkway and Ignacio Boulevard (5 trips)
Other GGT service at Ignacio pad stops
           
  Route 72 (Santa Rosa/San Francisco):
Eliminate segment to Sunset Parkway and Ignacio Boulevard (5 trips)
Other GGT service at Ignacio pad stops
           
  Route 73 (Santa Rosa/San Francisco): Eliminate all service (8 trips) Financial District service transfer to Route 93 at Toll Plaza
           
  Route 75 (Santa Rosa/San Rafael):
Eliminate all service (6 trips)
Other GGT service on Routes 70, 71 and 101
           
  Route 76 (East Petaluma/San Francisco):
Eliminate direct San Francisco Civic Center
Service (3 trips)
Transfer to Route 93 at Toll Plaza
       
 
The staff report stated commute service is regularly evaluated by staff to determine whether trips are meeting adopted performance standards of 20 intercounty passengers per trip, and that Board policy requires that a public process be undertaken when proposed trip reductions exceed 25% of the service on a given route. Furthermore, all the listed routes have low productivity trips and/or duplicate other Golden Gate Transit (GGT) services that have capacity to absorb additional riders. The staff report noted that, although Routes 24, 26, 58, 72 and 76 do not exceed the 25% threshold for total routes, they are included in the public review process because, if implemented, direct service or sections of routes would be eliminated. The staff report stated that the proposed changes to commute bus service will help restore the District to stable financial footing.

The staff report stated that staff will present findings from the Open Houses and public feedback to the Special Transportation Committee meeting on May 27, 2010, when staff presents a final recommendation, and that the implementation date for approved bus service changes would be September 12, 2010.

At the meeting, Ms. Kupersmith stated that staff has reviewed transit services, identifying routes and segments of routes with low productivity and duplication of service. She stated that staff recommends that the Board authorize the setting of a public hearing on Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 6:00 p.m., at Whistlestop Wheels in downtown San Rafael and the holding of Open Houses as shown above. Staff proposes to accept public comments at that time on toll increases previously proposed, as well as service changes for commute bus service. She stated that action taken today approves only the initiation of the public hearing process.

At the meeting, Principal Planner Ron Downing, in summarizing the staff report, stated that currently 85% of commute service meets the adopted performance standard of 20 intercounty passengers per trip. He discussed each of the proposed bus transit service reductions, as set forth above and in the staff report. He stated that approximately 50% of the savings from the proposed route changes would come from changes to Routes 72, 73 and 76. A copy of the staff report is available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

Discussion ensued, including the following comments and inquiries:

  • Director Stroeh inquired as to whether the outreach program would be expanded. In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that it would.
  • Director Reilly inquired as to the number of passengers boarding the Route 75 bus in Santa Rosa. In response, Mr. Downing stated that average ridership crossing the Sonoma-Marin County line is 14 passengers per trip.
  • Director Brown made the following comments and inquiries:
    • He inquired as to the percentage of cost savings that would result from discontinuing the Route 75. In response, Mr. Downing stated that, if all proposed changes are approved, approximately 23% of the savings that can be expected would result from the proposed changes to Route 75.
    • He inquired as to how much of the cost savings could be attributed to the discontinuance of Route 44 Lucas Valley. In response, Mr. Downing stated that Route 44 represents approximately 22% of the savings.
    • He inquired as to the reason why school children ride the Route 24 Lagunitas to attend Sir Francis Drake High School rather than riding the West Marin Stage Coach. In response, Mr. Downing stated that the West Marin Stage Coach operates along the same route within minutes of the Route 24 schedule. No research has been done to identify the reason high school students choose as they do. However, it could be attributed to habit.
    • He inquired as to the number of riders who go all the way to Sleepy Hollow using Route 26. In response, Mr. Downing stated that 3 to 5 people per trip take Route 26 to Sleepy Hollow. Ms. Kupersmith added that the Sleepy Hollow service constitutes approximately 5-6% of the savings.
  • Director Kerns inquired as to the length of time a passenger would be delayed by having to wait for a different bus. In response, Mr. Downing stated that the added wait time would be approximately 5 to 10 minutes for Route 93, but that additional trips are being added to remaining routes to limit added wait time as much as possible.
  • President Boro made the following inquiries:
    • He inquired as to how many individuals using Route 44 were represented by the staff report’s statement that “70% of riders can use alternate GGT services.” In response, Mr. Downing stated that it is 70% of approximately 100 riders per day.
    • He inquired as to whether the figures applied to northbound or southbound Route 44. In response, Mr. Downing stated that it applies to both directions. Ms. Kupersmith stated that approximately 30 people per day from Lucas Valley would have to use alternate transportation to get to the bus pad.
    • He inquired as to whether the conclusion could be drawn that approximately 30 people using this Route will have no alternative to GGT service. In response, Mr. Downing stated this is correct.
    • He inquired as to whether the information about the public hearing process had been shared with the Amalgamated Transit Union. In response, Ms. Kupersmith confirmed that it had.
  • Director Sobel made the following comment and inquiry:
    • He commented that alternative service is going to be available in every case, to take the place of routes or segments of routes with low productivity or duplicative service.
    • He inquired as to whether statistics were available that show changes in ridership over time for specific segments of routes that serve areas north of the Golden Gate Bridge. In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that information by county is readily available. She stated that the District will follow up with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to provide additional data.
  • Director McGlashan commented that data are available for Marin County and Marin County Transit District (MCTD). He stated that this data was used by MCTD and that additional survey work had been done in 2006-2007.
       
 

Public Comment

Marina V. Secchitano stated that, while cost savings may be realized by reducing or eliminating bus transit service on some routes, the hidden cost is the loss of employment. She stated that the Board should take a close look at the hidden costs and consider seriously how employees will be affected.

Discussion ensued, including the following comment:

  • Director Sobel stated that the suggestion that employees have not already been considered in coming to the recommendation today is erroneous. He stated that the District benefits by the efforts of employees. He stated that the District faces an unprecedented financial crisis and that it is the Board’s responsibility to look at every alternative.
       
 

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

RECOMMENDATION

The Transportation Committee recommends that the Board of Directors approve actions relative to the public review process associated with a proposal to consider changes to Golden Gate Transit (GGT) Commute Bus Service, as follows:

       
  a.
Authorize the setting of a public hearing on Wednesday, May 12, 2010, at 6:00 p.m., at Whistlestop Wheels in downtown San Rafael, CA, for the purpose of receiving public comment on a proposal to eliminate duplicative and/or low ridership bus services, with the understanding that staff will conduct information Open Houses as listed below, for the purpose of providing information, answering questions, and receiving input from the public about the proposed Golden Gate Transit commute bus service changes under consideration; and,
  b.
Authorize acceptance of transit service related public testimony at the currently scheduled Public Hearing on Friday, May 14, 2010, at 9:30 a.m., in the Board Room, Administration Building, Golden Gate Bridge Toll Plaza, San Francisco, CA; and,
  c.

Authorize staff to present for public review at the Open Houses listed below and at the Public Hearings listed above in Item Nos. 1 and 2, a series of bus service reductions that either for reasons of low ridership or duplication of service options, warrant reduction in line with Initiative Nos. 9 and 10 of the FY 09/10 Financial Plan for Achieving Long-Term Financial Stability, with the understanding that a recommendation with the final set of changes will be presented to the Special Meeting of the Transportation Committee on Thursday, May 27, 2010 and to the Board of Directors on Friday, May 28, 2010 for approval:

Open House Marin County
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Santa Rosa Room
Embassy Suites
San Rafael, CA

Open House Sonoma County
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Beverly C. Wilson Hall
Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds
Petaluma, CA

Open House City and County of San Francisco
Thursday, April 15, 2010
4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Board Room
Golden Gate Bridge
Toll Plaza Building
San Francisco, CA

Action by the Board – Resolution
NON-CONSENT CALENDAR

     

 

AYES (11): Directors Brown, Cochran, Elsbernd, Grosboll, Kerns, Moylan, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Snyder, Sobel and Stroeh; Second Vice President Eddie; First Vice President Janet Reilly; President Boro (Ex Officio)

NOES (0): None

       
3. Monthly Report on Bridge Traffic, Transit Ridership Trends and Transit Service Performance
   
 
The monthly report on Bridge Traffic and Transit Ridership Trends and Transit Service Performance was furnished to the Transportation Committee. The report shows the annual trend lines for the 12-month period ending January 2010, and includes the following charts:
 
a.
Southbound Golden Gate Bridge Traffic Trend for the period from June 2004 to January 2010, showing the annual percentage change in traffic for the 12 months ending January 2010;
 
b.
Golden Gate Ferry Ridership Trend for the period from June 2004 through January 2010 showing the annual percentage change in ridership for the 12 months ending January 2010; and,
 
c.
GGT Bus Ridership Trend as a 12 month running total from June 2004 through January 2010 showing the annual percentage change in ridership for the 12 months ending January 2010.
       
 

The monthly report also included the Transit Service Performance Statistics Report for January 2010, showing that, during the month of January 2010, ferry productivity as measured by passengers per trip and load factor, along with bus productivity as measured by farebox recovery, all declined as a result of the recession and seasonal fluctuations. 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

       
4. Monthly Report on Activities Related to Marin Local Service Contract with the 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.
Revised spreadsheets from the Planning Department outlining GGT bus service performance of both District regional routes and Marin Transit local routes, for January 2010; and,
  b.
A spreadsheet from the Auditor-Controller outlining the history of payments made from July, 2009 to February 2010, 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. Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) Board Agenda for February 25, 2010;
  b. TAM Draft Board Minutes from January 28, 2010;
  c. TAM Executive Committee Agenda for February 8, 2010; and,
  d. TAM Executive Committee Minutes from January 11. 2010.
     
 

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

           
5.

Public Comment

There was no public comment.

             
6.

Adjournment

All business having been concluded, the meeting was adjourned at 10:45 a.m.

   

 

Respectfully submitted,

/s/ Harold C. Brown, Chair
Transportation Committee