REPORT OF PROCEEDINGS

PUBLIC HEARING

RECEIVE PUBLIC COMMENT ON PROPOSAL TO
ESTABLISH A FY 2012-2016 FIVE-YEAR TRANSIT FARE PROGRAM

APRIL 6, 2011

 

The Board of Directors of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (District) held a public hearing at the Jackson Café, Whistlestop, 930 Tamalpais Avenue, San Rafael, CA, on Wednesday, April 6, 2011, at 6:00 p.m., for the purpose of receiving public comment on a proposal to establish a Five-Year Transit Fare Program to increase bus, paratransit, special event ferry and single ride (formerly referred to as “cash”) ferry fares in order to meet operating expenses, effective July 1, 2011.

Directors in Attendance (3): Director Cochran; First Vice President Eddie; President Reilly

Directors Not in Attendance (15): Directors Boro, Brown, Campos, Chu, Elsbernd, Grosboll, Mar, Moylan, Pahre, Rabbitt, Renée, Snyder, Sobel, Stroeh and Theriault

[On this date, there was one vacancy on the Board of Directors]

Staff Present: General Manager Denis Mulligan; Secretary of the District Janet Tarantino; Attorney Madeline Chun; Deputy General Manager/Bus Transit Division Teri W. Mantony; Director of Planning Ron Downing; Marketing and Communications Director Kellee Hopper; Customer Relations Manager Helen M. Moore; Assistant Clerk of the Board Patsy Whala

Visitors Present: Paul Andrews, Marin County resident; Debbie Olsen, San Francisco County resident; Bruce Sinclair, Marin County resident

 

 

     
1.

Purpose of Public Hearing

The public hearing was conducted by President Reilly, who announced that the purpose of the public hearing is to receive public comment on a proposal to establish a FY 2012-2016 Five-Year Transit Fare Program to increase bus, paratransit, special event ferry and single ride (formerly referred to as “cash”) ferry fares in order to meet operating expenses, effective July 1, 2011.

     
2.

Public Outreach

District Secretary Janet Tarantino reported that, in compliance with District policy, notices were mailed to organizations and individuals on the District’s mailing list and copies were posted in various locations on District properties. Also, in compliance with Resolution No. 2011-015, adopted on February 25, 2011, legal notices were published in the following publications: the Marin Independent Journal, the San Francisco Examiner and the Santa Rosa Press Democrat on Tuesday, March 15 and on Tuesday, March 22. Additional public outreach was undertaken, as follows:

  • A press release was posted to the web site on February 21, and was issued to targeted media. A media reminder was issued on April 4;
  • Display boards and comment forms were translated into Spanish for affected communities;
  • Display ads were placed in the various area newspapers: the San Francisco Chronicle (North Bay Zone), the Marin Independent Journal, La Voz, Commuter Times and the Press Democrat between March 3 and April 30;
  • Posters were posted on all ferries and placed in the ferry terminals, as well as posted on all buses, during the week of March 7;
  • Sandwich boards were placed in the ferry terminals during the week of March 7;
  • Information was eblasted to all bus and ferry subscribers on March 1 and 16, and on April 4; tweeted via Twitter on February 25, March 23 and April 4; and, placed on Facebook on February 25, March 23 and April 4;
  • The proposal was presented to the Ferry Passengers Advisory Committee on February 14; to the Advisory Committee on Accessibility on March 17; and, to the Bus Passengers Advisory Committee on March 23;
  • Public Open Houses were held: at the San Francisco Ferry Terminal on March 1 and March 10; at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds on March 15; at the Santa Rosa City Council Chambers on March 16; at Whistlestop on March 22; and, at the Administration Building, Golden Gate Bridge Toll Plaza on March 24;
  • Additional outreach was done at the monthly Ferry Management session at the San Francisco Ferry Terminal on March 1 and March 15;
  • A formal public hearing notice and the associated staff report for the April 6 and April 7 Public Hearings were posted on the District’s web site on April 1, 2011; and, posted on www.511.org.

Attorney Madeline Chun confirmed that the above-described public outreach met the legal requirements for calling a public hearing.

     
3.

Correspondence Received Relative to the Proposal

Ms. Tarantino reported that, as of Monday, April 4, 2011, the District has received 14 public comments on the proposal, 12 comments expressing opposition and 2 comments expressing general support.

     
4.

Staff Presentation

President Reilly called upon Director of Planning Ron Downing to present staff’s recommendation to establish a FY 2012-2016 Five-Year Transit Fare Program. A copy of the staff report is available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

Mr. Downing summarized the staff report stating that the District is facing an $89 million five-year projected deficit as a result of several continuing developments, including reduced revenues, the loss of state transit funding, increased costs associated with employee medical benefits and pensions and the commitment of $75 million toward the Doyle Drive reconstruction project. The proposed action is related to establishing a new Five-Year Transit Fare Program that addresses Initiatives 12 and 25 in the FY 09/10 Financial Plan for Achieving Long-Term Financial Stability. The Five-Year Transit Fare Program was discussed by the Finance-Auditing Committee at its meeting of February 24, 2011.

Mr. Downing stated that as a result of the changes made to the Ferry ClipperSM discount fares that went into effect on January 1, 2011, staff will consider presenting a proposal to modify these fares to the Committee/Board later this year. This proposal will be developed in concert with an evaluation of parking fees at the Larkspur Ferry Terminal.

Mr. Downing stated that staff recommends that the following actions be undertaken as relates to the establishment of a FY 2012-2016 Five-Year Transit Fare Program, effective July 1, 2011:

  • An annual five percent fare increase on: Golden Gate Transit (GGT) regional intercounty bus services; local rides within Marin County on GGT regional bus routes; Larkspur Ferry “single ride” fares; and, complementary Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) paratransit;
  • An increase on Sausalito Ferry “single ride” adult fares of $1.00, from $8.25 to $9.25, for the first year, then a 5 percent increase each subsequent year;
  • An increase in “special event” ferry fares, to equal the proposed single ride adult ferry fares; and,
  • An annual review, concurrent with the District’s budget development process, to determine if an adjustment to the FY 2012-2016 Five-Year Transit Fare Program or special event fares is needed.

Further, Mr. Downing reported that this proposal differs in three ways from past adopted Five-Year Transit Fare Programs (Program): 1) An incremental rounding of fares to the nearest $0.25; 2) An increase of $1.00 in the single ride adult cash fare for the Sausalito Ferry in the first year of the Program; and, 3) A change in the ferry special event fare that would make it equivalent to the Larkspur Ferry adult single ride fare.

     
5.

Public Comments

President Reilly then opened the public hearing to receive public comment, noting that all comments will be entered into the record. She announced the following public comment procedures, noting that (1) there is a three-minute limit for each speaker; (2) the District Secretary will keep track of the time of each speaker; and, (3) while speaking into the microphone, the speaker should state his or her name, and if representing an organization, state the full name of the organization.

     
  a.
Paul Andrews President, Uniting Nationalities Institutionalized-Charity Christian Prison Ministry, stated that he rides Golden Gate Transit (GGT), connecting to Bay Area transit systems on a regular basis, spending an average of $100 per month using the ClipperSM card. He mentioned that he recently used the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation (TriMet) system in Portland, OR, and talked about how TriMet issues daily, weekly or monthly passes for bus, light rail and commuter rail service in the Portland metropolitan area. He emphasized the convenience of using the TriMet pass to ride transit and connect to other transit systems, as with the ClipperSM card. In contrast, the TriMet pass allows customers to ride on all modes of transit for a flat rate, whereas ClipperSM card customers have to pay each time they board the various transportation systems operating in the Bay Area. He suggested that the District take the lead to set up a pass system for customers in the Bay Area and would like a discounted pass for travel from San Rafael to San Jose. He also suggested that ClipperSM card users be given preferential boarding compared to how FasTrak® users have a FasTrak®-only lane. In conclusion, he encouraged the District to be innovative as they promote using public transportation as the alternative of choice.
     
  b.
Debbie Olsen, San Francisco County resident, inquired as to whether the FY 2012-2016 Five-Year Transit Fare Program would generate an adequate amount of funds for District solvency, or if in five years the District would be implementing another fare increase. She expressed her concerns regarding the recent reductions in GGT bus service, stating that passengers run the risk of being stranded at one location because of connecting bus routes. She also made a complaint that the yellow tape and the red Emergency Button that are located next to the Wheelchair Securement Area on GGT buses do not consistently work. She stated that there have been instances when she has needed to alert the Bus Operator when other passengers have bothered her or tried to steal her belongings. She suggested that checking the yellow tape and red Emergency Button be part of the Bus Operator inspection before beginning the route. She also requested information about a complementary ADA paratransit route. She expressed her concerns regarding the financial affect of the proposed fare increase on seniors and disabled persons and requested that the District subsidize fares for those groups. In addition, she described her experiences using the ClipperSM card, stating that there have been erroneous deductions made to her ClipperSM card. She also described her dissatisfaction when using www.511.org, stating that oftentimes incorrect information is given.
     
6.

Closing Remarks

Ms. Chun stated that deadline for receiving written comments on this proposal is Thursday, April 7 at 4:30 p.m. Following the deadline for comments, staff will carefully consider the suggestions and comments that have been received, and will then develop a report that will include a summary of public comments and a staff recommendation relative to this proposal. The report will be presented to the Finance-Auditing Committee at its meeting of Thursday, April 21. It is anticipated that the Committee will forward its recommendation to the Board of Directors for consideration at its meeting of Friday, April 22. All meetings will be held in the Board Room, Administration Building, Golden Gate Bridge Toll Plaza, San Francisco, CA, beginning at 10:00 a.m. The staff report will be available for the public to view on Monday, April 18 by 4:30 p.m.

     
7.

Conclusion

All business having been concluded, the public hearing was closed at 6:30 p.m.

     

 

Respectfully submitted,

s/ Janet S. Tarantino
Secretary of the District

 

Attachments:

 

Exhibit 1: Staff Report entitled, “Public Hearing to Receive Public Comment on a Proposed FY 2012-2016 Five-Year Fare Program,” including Attachment A. Public Hearings were held on April 6 and 7, 2011