November 18, 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, November 18, 2010, at 10:10 a.m., Chair Brown presiding.

Committee Members Present (8): Chair Brown; Vice Chair Cochran; Directors Grosboll, McGlashan, Pahre, Snyder and Sobel; President Boro (Ex Officio)
Committee Members Absent (1): Director Kerns
Other Directors Present (4): Directors Eddie, Newhouse Segal, Reilly and Stroeh

Committee of the Whole Members Present (12): Directors Brown, Cochran, Grosboll, McGlashan, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Snyder, Sobel and Stroeh; Second Vice President Eddie; First Vice President Reilly; President Boro (Ex Officio)
Committee of the Whole Members Absent (7): Directors Campos, Chu, Dufty, Elsbernd, Kerns, Moylan, Sanders; First Vice President Reilly

Staff Present: General Manager Denis Mulligan; Auditor-Controller Joseph Wire; Acting District Engineer Ewa Bauer; Secretary of the District Janet Tarantino; Attorney David 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; Planning Director Ron Downing; Public Affairs Director Mary Currie; Executive Assistant to the General Manager Amorette Ko; Assistant Clerk of the Board Lona Franklin

Visitors Present: None

     
1. Report of District Advisory Committees
     
  a.
Advisory Committee on Accessibility

The Agenda for the meeting of Thursday, September 23, 2010 and the Minutes of the meeting of July 22, 2010, 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 meeting of September 15, 2010 and the Meeting Summary of the meeting of Wednesday, June 16, 2010, 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 meeting of Monday, August 9, 2010 and the Notes of the meeting of April 26, 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.

Approve Changes to Golden Gate Ferry Fares for Passengers Using the ClipperSM Card Program and Changes to Weekday Ferry Schedule

In a memorandum to Committee, Planning Director Ron Downing, Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Z. Wayne Johnson, Deputy General Manager/ Ferry Transit Division James Swindler, Auditor-Controller Joseph Wire and General Manager Denis Mulligan reported on staff’s recommendation to approve actions relative to changes to Golden Gate Ferry fares for passengers using the ClipperSM Card Program and to the weekday ferry schedule.

     
  a.

Staff Report

The staff report stated that, on August 6, 2010, the Board authorized staff to proceed with a public review process for proposed changes to Golden Gate Ferry fares and schedule in response to Initiative 9 (eliminate trips with low ridership) and Initiative 13 (reduce Ferry Fare Discount for TransLink® riders from 40% to 30%) of the FY 09/10 Financial Plan for Achieving Long-Term Financial Stability (Plan) to respond to the District’s then five-year $132 million shortfall that is currently projected at $89 million.

The staff report stated that, following careful consideration by staff of public comments received, staff’s original proposal was revised to more modest fare increases, corresponding to a 10% increase in the ClipperSM fare for both Larkspur and Sausalito customers.

The staff report also stated that staff’s revised proposal makes no schedule changes to Sausalito service and introduces a summer/winter schedule for Larkspur. No changes are proposed for the summer season. The proposed revised Larkspur Ferry winter season schedule is as follows:

     
Proposed Revised Larkspur/SF
Winter Season Schedule
(October 1 – March 31)

All trips will be provided by a high speed ferry

Depart Larkspur Depart San Francisco
5:50 am 6:25 am
6:35 am 7:10 am
7:10 am 7:45 am
7:50 am 8:30 am
8:20 am 9:10 am
9:15 am 10:10 am
10:10 am 10:55 am
11:00 am 11:40 am
12:20 pm 1:05 pm
2:15 pm 2:50 pm
2:50 pm 3:30 pm
3:30 pm 4:10 pm
4:10 pm 4:50 pm
4:50 pm 5:30 pm
5:30 pm 6:10 pm
6:10 pm 6:50 pm
7:10 pm 8:00 pm
8:45 pm 9:30 pm
     
   

The staff report provided brief analyses of the District’s compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. In accordance with Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) guidelines, staff examined the impact of the proposed service and fare changes on minority, low income and disadvantaged communities and documented its analysis and findings in a written report that will be submitted to the FTA. The ferry routes are oriented toward trips to and from San Francisco rather than toward local trips. The users of these routes are predominantly non-minority, from middle to upper income communities. Based upon a review of available ridership and United States Census data, staff has concluded that no disparate impact to minority, low income, or disadvantaged communities under Title VI will result from the implementation of these changes. In addition, the schedule changes as proposed do not fall under the definition of a “project” under CEQA, and fare changes are categorically exempt as per CEQA statute. As a result, no further actions or analysis will be required at this time under CEQA, and a “Notice of Exemption” will be filed if the proposed changes are approved by the Board.

The staff report stated that a combination of cost savings and new revenues will result from implementation of staff’s proposals, as directed by Initiatives 9 and 13 of the Plan. A copy of the staff report is available from the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

     
  b.

Presentation

At the meeting, Mr. Mulligan stated that the original proposal for ferry fare and schedule changes went through extensive public comment, and as a result, the proposal was modified accordingly and is before the Committee for its consideration. He emphasized that the proposed schedule changes will reduce the District’s costs.

Mr. Downing briefly summarized the staff report, stating that the initially proposed reduction in Golden Gate Ferry fares for passengers using the ClipperSM Card Program and changes to the weekday ferry schedule were revised following analysis of public comments received by the District. He stated that details regarding fare and schedule changes appear in appendices to the staff report. He indicated that comments received by the District included a suggestion to increase ferry cash fares rather than fares for frequent riders. He stated, however, that no increase in cash fares is included in the proposal before the Committee. He added that the revised fare and schedule changes were presented to the Ferry Passengers Advisory Committee, which endorsed the proposal to raise fares 10% and to make winter only changes to the Larkspur Ferry schedule.

     
  c.

Discussion

Discussion ensued, including the following comments and inquiries:

  • Director Cochran inquired as to a recent news story about passengers who attempt to by-pass Bay Area Rapid Transit fares by using ClipperSM cards with insufficient funds remaining, and whether that could prove problematic for ferry fares as well. In response, Mr. Mulligan stated that the District has experienced few problems of this nature. Mr. Wire added that, should any passengers ride ferries for less than the required fare as a result of a ClipperSM Card anomaly, the District would receive the difference back from ClipperSM.
  • First Vice President Reilly inquired as to whether unused fare amounts are automatically carried forward to new fare purchases on the ClipperSM Card, and whether negative remainders carry over in a similar fashion. In response, Mr. Swindler stated that remainder amounts carry forward, whether they are positive or negative.
  • Director Grosboll made the following inquiries:
    • He inquired as to the difference in travel time between high-speed and Spaulding ferryboats. In response, Mr. Swindler stated that the difference in the length of time for one crossing is approximately fifteen minutes.
    • He inquired as to when the most recent fare increase had taken place. In response, Mr. Downing indicated that the regular interval for fare increases is once per year for the past two five-year fare programs. He stated that the new Transit Fare Increase Plan would begin in FY 11/12, once the current five-year plan expires.
    • He inquired as to whether benefits other than additional revenue would be realized as a result of the proposal to change fares and the schedule. In response, Mr. Mulligan stated that greater efficiency would result in better service to passengers.
  • Director Snyder made the following comments and inquiries:
    • He inquired as to the number of trips being cut and the time of day the last trip departs. In response, Mr. Mulligan indicated that five trips between Larkspur and San Francisco are proposed to be cut during the winter schedule. He added that the last departure from Larkspur, under the proposed schedule, would be at 8:45 p.m., making the additional wait slightly over thirty minutes. Mr. Downing added that the last evening trip departing Larkspur would be adjusted to run five minutes earlier. That trip currently transports seven or fewer passengers.
    • He inquired as to whether a monthly pass program has been considered as a way to reward regular commuters and, if not, this should be considered as part of the next five-year plan. In response, Mr. Mulligan stated that a variety of options will be researched, and if the Board takes the necessary action to approve it, a monthly plan could be put into place.
    • He commented that a 5% increase in Golden Gate Bridge tolls should be considered as well. He added that he would be unable to support the proposal before the Board because it is not sufficiently comprehensive.
  • Director McGlashan commented that Director Snyder had made some good points that would be useful for future consideration. He thanked staff for the excellent work done to collect, analyze and tabulate public comments and for reducing the proposed increase to the one before the Committee today.
  • President Boro made the following comments and inquiries:
    • He stated his agreement with Director McGlashan’s comments, and noted that, regarding public transportation fares and schedules, the item before the Committee today concerns only ferry fares and the schedule. He indicated that all transit fare increases will be discussed in 2011, when the five-year Transit Fare Increase Plan expires.
    • He inquired as to whether the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (Muni) uses ClipperSM. Mr. Mulligan answered affirmatively.
    • He inquired as to whether Muni had discontinued monthly passes. Mr. Mulligan responded in the negative, adding that the cost is approximately $60 to $70. He noted that Muni’s monthly passes are very popular, although the objectives of Muni are not the same as those of the District.
     
  d. Actions by the Board
     
    1.

Action Relative to Ferry Fares

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 changes to Golden Gate Ferry Fares for passengers using the ClipperSM Card Program, effective January 1, 2011, as follows:

         
         
      a.

Adopt a 10% increase in fares for ferry passengers using the ClipperSM Card Program (formerly referred to as “Frequent Rider” fares), as follows:

Regional Ferry Travel – Ferry ClipperSM Card one-way fares:

  • Larkspur – SF: $5.70
  • Sausalito – SF: $4.85
  • ClipperSM Card Youth, Senior, Medicare and Disabled: $4.10;
      b. Direct the Secretary of the District to file a Notice of Exemption in the offices of the County Clerks in the City and County of San Francisco and the County of Marin; and,
      c.

Amend the 2010 Master Ordinance accordingly.

Action by the Board at its Meeting of November 19, 2010 – Ordinance
NON-CONSENT CALENDAR

         
     
AYES (10): Directors Brown, Cochran, McGlashan, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Sobel and Stroeh; Second Vice President Eddie; First Vice President Reilly; President Boro (Ex Officio)
NOES (2): Directors Grosboll and Snyder
         
    2.

Action Relative to Ferry Schedule

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 changes to the Golden Gate Ferry weekday ferry schedules, for the winter season (October 1 through March 31), effective October 2011, as follows:

      a. Eliminates 5 of the 41 Larkspur Ferry service trips during the winter season, to improve operational efficiencies and generate cost savings, as follows:
        1. Eliminates one midday roundtrip departing from Larkspur at 11:40 a.m. and from San Francisco at 12:25 p.m.;
        2. Eliminates one evening roundtrip departing from Larkspur at 7:20 p.m. and from San Francisco at 8:10 p.m.; and,
        3. Eliminates one evening crossing departing from San Francisco at 5:20 p.m.; and,
      b.

Directs the Secretary of the District to file a Notice of Exemption in the offices of the County Clerks in the City and County of San Francisco and the County of Marin.

Action by the Board at its Meeting of November 19, 2010 – Resolution
NON-CONSENT CALENDAR

         
     
AYES (10): Directors Brown, Cochran, McGlashan, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Sobel and Stroeh; Second Vice President Eddie; First Vice President Reilly; President Boro (Ex Officio)
NOES (2): Directors Grosboll and Snyder
         
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 September 2010, and includes the following charts:

     
  a.
Southbound Golden Gate Bridge Traffic Trend for the period from June 2004 to September 2010, showing the annual percentage change in traffic for the 12 months ending September 2010;
  b.
Golden Gate Ferry Ridership Trend for the period from June 2004 through September 2010 showing the annual percentage change in ridership for the 12 months ending September 2010; and,
  c.
GGT Bus Ridership Trend as a 12-month running total from June 2004 through September 2010 showing the annual percentage change in ridership for the 12 months ending September 2010.
     
 

The monthly report also included the Transit Service Performance Statistics Report for September 2010, showing that, during the month of September 2010, bus productivity increased as measured by passengers per trip and load factor. Ferry productivity as measured by passengers per trip and load factor increased on weekdays and decreased on weekends and holidays. 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 (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 September 2010; and,
  b.
A spreadsheet from the Auditor-Controller outlining the history of payments made from July 1, 2010 to October 21, 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) Agenda for October 28, 2010;
  b. TAM Executive Committee Agenda for October 11, 2010;
  c. TAM Executive Committee Minutes of September 13, 2010; and,
  d. TAM Board Meeting Minutes of September 23, 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 10:35 a.m.

     
     
     
     
     

 

Respectfully submitted,

s/ Harold C. Brown, Chair
Transportation Committee