May 13, 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, May 13, 2010, at 10:00 a.m., Chair Brown presiding.

Committee Members Present (8): Chair Brown; Vice Chair Cochran; Directors Grosboll, Kerns, Pahre, Snyder and Sobel; President Boro (Ex Officio)
Committee Members Absent (1): Director McGlashan
Other Directors Present (2): Directors Eddie and Moylan

Committee of the Whole Members Present (10): Directors Brown, Cochran, Grosboll, Kerns, Moylan, Pahre, Snyder and Sobel; Second Vice President Eddie; President Boro (Ex Officio)
Committee of the Whole Members Absent (9): Directors Campos, Chu, Dufty, Elsbernd, McGlashan, Newhouse Segal, Sanders and Stroeh; First Vice President Reilly

Staff Present: General Manager Celia G. Kupersmith; District Engineer Denis J. Mulligan; Director of Procurement and Retail Operations and Acting Auditor-Controller Lori Murray; Secretary of the District Janet S. Tarantino; Attorney David J. Miller; Deputy General Manager/Bridge Division Kary Witt; 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; Principal Planner and Acting Planning Director Ron Downing; Executive Assistant to the General Manager Amorette Ko; Assistant Clerk of the Board Lona Franklin

Visitors Present: David Rzepinski, General Manager, Marin Transit

     
1. Report of District Advisory Committees
     
  a.

Advisory Committee on Accessibility

The minutes of a Special 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

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

     
  c.

Ferry Passengers Advisory Committee

The cancellation notice for the meeting of April 12, 2010, the agenda for the meeting of April 26, 2010, and the minutes of the meeting of February 8, 2010, 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.

Authorize Execution of the FY 10/11 Inter-County Paratransit Services Agreement with the Marin County Transit District

In a memorandum to Committee, Access and Compliance Planner Harvey Katz, Acting Planning Director Ron Downing, Deputy General Manager/Bus Transit Division Teri Mantony and General Manager Celia Kupersmith reported on staff’s recommendation to authorize execution of the FY 10/11 Intercounty Paratransit Services Agreement (Agreement) with the Marin County Transit District (MCTD), in the estimated cost of $1,167,640.00, for a period of twelve months, from July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011, to provide Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) intercounty paratransit services.

The staff report stated that, for the past 17 years, the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (District) has entered into annual contracts with the MCTD for the provision of the ADA intercounty paratransit services by its local paratransit service contractor, Whistlestop Wheels (WSW). The staff report noted that this arrangement has allowed the District to comply with the requirements of the ADA to provide complementary paratransit services for regional fixed-route service.

The staff report stated that, starting July 1, 2010, the contractor, WSW, will be operating under the terms of its new Agreement with the MCTD, which Agreement was approved by the MCTD Board on April 19, 2010. In addition, the staff of the District and the MCTD have developed the FY 10/11 Agreement between the District and the MCTD, which follows the terms and conditions of the new Agreement between the MCTD and WSW and which reflects the principles of the Marin Local Fixed-Route Bus Agreement between the District and the MCTD, which is effective through June 30, 2017.

At the meeting, Ms. Kupersmith stated that this item comes before the Committee annually. She stated that the MCTD had put this contract out for competitive bids and that WSW was the successful bidder.

At the meeting, David Rzepinski, General Manager of Marin Transit, stated that the contract term with WSW is three years, beginning July 1, 2010. He stated that, although the contract contains some new provisions, WSW is very familiar with the local area. He stated that part of the success of the paratransit services results from the team effort between the District and Marin Transit. Ms. Kupersmith added that the Agreement before the Board is for one year. She stated there is a potential for a two-year contract next year. She noted that the District is hired by the MCTD to provide local fixed route service and that the District hires the MCTD to provide regional ADA required services. She stated the cost is approximately $167 million annually, with a small return from fare revenue.

Discussion ensued, including the following comments and inquiries:

  • Director Grosboll made the following inquiries:
    • He inquired as to the reason for decreased demand. In response, Mr. Downing stated there has been a change in trip patterns. Inter-county trips have decreased because many who have used paratransit services are seeking health services locally rather than traveling. In addition, a few long-time riders have passed away.
    • He inquired as to the reason for a one-year agreement. In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that, historically, the District has entered into one-year agreements for the reasons stated above.
    • He inquired as to the reason a two-year agreement could not be passed immediately. In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that the two-year details, including cost, would have to be presented to the Board. However, if the Board wishes, a two-year agreement can be brought forward next year. Ms. Mantony added that the new efficiencies included in the Agreement between the MCTD and WSW are ones with which the District has no previous experience. At this time, the recommendation is for a one-year contract, with the understanding that the staffs of both entities can explore this possibility for years going forward.

Staff recommended and the Committee concurred by motion made and seconded by Directors KERNS/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 the FY 10/11 Intercounty Paratransit Services Agreement with the Marin County Transit District, in the estimated cost of $1,167,640.00, for a period of twelve months from July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011, to provide Americans with Disabilities Act intercounty paratransit services.

Action by the Board – Resolution
NON-CONSENT CALENDAR

AYES (10): Chair Brown; Vice Chair Cochran; Directors Eddie, Grosboll, Kerns, Moylan, Pahre, Snyder and Sobel; President Boro (Ex Officio)
NOES (0): None

     
3.

Status Report on the Proposal to Effect Changes to Golden Gate Transit Commute Bus Service

In a memorandum to Committee, Acting Planning Director Ron Downing, Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Z. Wayne Johnson, Deputy General Manager/Bus Transit Division Teri Mantony and General Manager Celia Kupersmith summarized the status of the proposal to effect changes to Golden Gate Transit (GGT) commute bus service. The report stated that a public review process was authorized by the Board at its meeting of March 12, 2010, to receive public comment on this proposal, identified as Initiative #9 in the District’s Strategic Plan for Achieving Financial Stability, which was adopted to address the District’s $132 million five-year projected deficit. This proposal includes modifications to Routes 24, 58, 72 and 76, and elimination of Routes 26, 44, 73 and 75. The report stated that if these changes are approved by the Board on May 28, 2010, they would be implemented in September 2010.

The staff report noted that three open houses were held in the counties of Marin, Sonoma and San Francisco. A public hearing took place on May 12, 2010, with a second public hearing scheduled for May 14, 2010. All included publication of prior notices in seven area newspapers, as well as on buses and on the District’s web site. Comments were invited to be made through two channels on the District’s web site (“Bus Comments” and “Public Hearing Comments”). The two databases were monitored daily. In addition, comments were invited to be submitted by hard copy or email. The staff report stated that the District received 164 comments on the proposed reductions in GGT commute service as of May 4, 2010.

At the meeting, Mr. Downing stated that, through the public review process, 190 comments have been received from the public to date. He noted that many comments opine that no cuts should be made, but that the District should look elsewhere for savings. He stated that routes not previously identified as having low ridership have now moved into the low ridership category. He stated that, once the public hearing of May 14, 2010 has been completed, staff will analyze the comments and present its recommendation on the proposal at the Special meeting of the Transportation Committee and the Board of Directors on May 27, and 28, 2010, respectively.

Discussion ensued, including the following comments and inquiries:

  • Director Pahre inquired as to whether ridership figures for GGT will be available. In response, Mr. Downing stated they will. Ms. Kupersmith added that figures will be provided to each Board member.
  • Director Cochran inquired as to whether consolidation of routes will be considered. Ms. Kupersmith responded in the affirmative.
  • Director Snyder made the following comments and inquiries:
    • He inquired concerning a presentation at the public hearings showing routes, ridership and financial information. In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that a short presentation was made at the May 12, 2010, public hearing and was planned for the May 14, 2010, public hearing. She stated that the main purpose of the public hearings is to receive public comment. She stated that Mr. Downing presented the changes at the May 12, 2010, hearing and would present the changes at the May 14, 2010, hearing as well. She commented that the people who attended the public hearing on May 12, 2010, at the Whistlestop Wheels office in San Rafael appeared well informed and aware of how the proposed changes would impact them. She stated that eight people spoke about transit and one person suggested that no cuts be made but, instead, a FasTrak® toll increase would be more appropriate for funding transit. Ms. Kupersmith stated that the speakers were those who use transit and that they acknowledged ridership on some routes was low, but emphasized the degree of importance transit holds in their lives. She stated that additional consideration will be given to retaining trips presently scheduled for discontinuation, based on the public input that was received. She noted that some speakers indicated that the suggested alternative of transfer to Route 93 would be difficult, at best, because Route 93 is often filled to capacity. Some stated they were eager to see the outbound bus stop at Richardson, just off Doyle Drive, enlarged.
    • He commented that, for the sake of clarity, the District should research the amount that would have to be charged in tolls to fund retention of some or all the routes proposed for elimination or reduction of service.

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 (MCTD) 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 March 2010; and,
  b.
A spreadsheet from the Auditor-Controller outlining the history of payments made from July, 2009 to May 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. MCTD Board Agenda for April 19, 2010;
  b. Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) Board Agenda for April 22, 2010;
  c. TAM Draft Board Minutes from March 25, 2010;
  d. TAM Executive Committee Agenda for April 12, 2010; and,
  e. TAM Executive Committee Minutes from March 8, 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 10:25 a.m.

     
     
     

 

Respectfully submitted,

s/ Harold C. Brown, Chair
Transportation Committee