May 12, 2011

 

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, CA, on Thursday, May 12, 2011, at 10:00 a.m., Acting and Vice Chair Cochran presiding.

Committee Members Present (5): Acting and Vice Chair Cochran; Directors Grosboll, Pahre and Sobel; President Reilly (Ex Officio)
Committee Members Absent (3): Chair Brown; Directors Rabbitt and Snyder
Other Directors Present (6): Directors Boro, Eddie, Elsbernd, Moylan, Renée and Stroeh

Committee of the Whole Members Present (11): Directors Boro, Cochran, Elsbernd, Moylan, Pahre, Renée, Sobel and Stroeh; Second Vice President Grosboll; First Vice President Eddie; President Reilly (Ex Officio)
Committee of the Whole Members Absent (7): Directors Brown, Campos, Chu, Mar, Rabbitt, Snyder and Theriault

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

Staff Present: General Manager Denis Mulligan; Auditor-Controller Joseph Wire; District Engineer Ewa Bauer; Secretary of the District Janet Tarantino; Attorney Madeline Chun; Deputy General Manager/Bridge Division Kary Witt; Deputy General Manager/Bus Transit Division Teri Mantony; Deputy General Manager/Ferry Transit Division James Swindler; Human Resources Director Harvey Pye; Planning Director Ron Downing; Public Affairs Director Mary Currie; Assistant Clerk of the Board Lona Franklin

Visitors Present: None

 

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

There were no meetings of the Advisory Committee on Accessibility in April 2011.
     
  b.

Bus Passengers Advisory Committee

There were no meetings of the Bus Passengers Advisory Committee in April 2011.

     
  c.

Ferry Passengers Advisory Committee

The Meeting Agenda for April 11, 2011, including the following attachments, was furnished to the Transportation Committee: Summary from Meeting of February 14, 2011; and, Ferry Route Performance Reports for January 2011 and February 2011. 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 Implementation of Sunday Bus Service on Golden Gate Transit Route 101 on a Pilot Basis

In a memorandum to Committee, Planning Director Ron Downing, Deputy General Manager/Bus Transit Division Teri Mantony and General Manager Denis Mulligan reported on staff’s recommendation to approve Sunday bus service on Golden Gate Transit (GGT) Route 101, on a nine-month pilot basis, beginning September 11, 2011.

The staff report stated that, currently, the District offers one bus per hour on Sundays, a Route 80, which experiences severe overcrowding during peak periods. GGT Route 101 is a relatively new basic service express route that has shown ongoing ridership growth since weekday service was first implemented in June 2009. It is a reconfiguration of Route 80 basic service, offering fewer stops but speedier service. Overall, weekday service has grown over 23% in ridership compared to a year ago, with an average of 45 passengers per trip. A limited Saturday schedule for Route 101 consisting of only southbound morning service and northbound afternoon service (during the time periods with heaviest demand) was implemented in June 2010 to supplement Route 80 service and reduce overcrowding. It has also seen ridership growth. With the success of weekday and Saturday Route 101 trips, requests have been received from both the public and Bus Operators to institute Sunday service. Implementation of Sunday Route 101 service on September 11, 2011, will allow sufficient time to prepare informational materials and to educate the public about the new service.

Staff has estimated that the operating cost of providing the Sunday Route 101 demonstration service for the nine-month period will be $280,000.00. Fare revenues are estimated to be a minimum of 20% of operating costs (or $56,000.00), resulting in a net estimated cost of $224,000.00. The actual amount of fare revenue, based on experience with weekday and Saturday service, could be higher. A copy of the staff report is available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

At the meeting, Mr. Downing briefly summarized the staff report, stating that the Route 80 trip to San Francisco from Santa Rosa takes approximately 3 hours. Route 101, on the other hand, takes 30 minutes less to make that trip. He added that Route 101 service has grown by 23% on weekdays, and that Saturday service has increased as well. Some peak trips on the Sunday Route 80 service have transported 70 passengers.

Discussion ensued, including the following comments and inquiries:

  • Director Pahre made the following comments and inquiries:
    • She inquired as to the passenger capacity of a bus. In response, Mr. Downing stated that a forty-foot bus has 40 seats.
    • She inquired as to whether weekend fares are higher than weekday fares. In response, Mr. Downing stated that weekday and weekend fares are the same.
    • She commented that if this pilot program proves successful, the Board may wish to consider variable fares. In response, Mr. Mulligan stated that most users of weekend service are customers who are transit dependent. He added that the District also wishes to encourage people to use public transportation rather than personal vehicles. He stated that, before variable fares could be instituted, analysis of the customer base would be required, and other steps would need to be taken. He concluded that the District is always cognizant of its customer base.
  • Director Grosboll inquired as to the time of day service would begin. In response, Mr. Downing stated that the first southbound trip on Sundays would depart Santa Rosa bound for San Francisco at approximately 7:10 a.m., with the last trip departing Santa Rosa at approximately 1:10 p.m. The first northbound trip on Sundays would leave San Francisco bound for Santa Rosa at approximately 11:30 a.m., with the last trip departing San Francisco at approximately 6:30 p.m.
  • Director Eddie made the following inquiries:
    • He inquired as to whether the public has received notice about Route 101 being an express service and that it will be enhanced, in order to promote use of the service. In response, Mr. Downing stated that weekday and Saturday Route 101 service was promoted when it was implemented. That route has been very successful. He stated that the District has received numerous requests from the public to institute Sunday service. He added that, if the Board approves staff’s recommendation, outreach would be done in advance of the September implementation date.
    • He inquired as to whether the addition of Sunday service would be considered an upgrade to the Route 101 service. Mr. Downing responded affirmatively.
  • Director Elsbernd made the following comments and inquiries:
    • He inquired as to how the proposed service addition will affect the District’s 5-year plan. Mr. Mulligan responded that the current proposal is for a pilot program and that, after the nine-month period, continuing the service would require Board approval. Mr. Wire stated that the annual cost of this service would cost approximately $400,000.00 to $500,000.00. He added that all bus service provided by the District requires subsidy, as would the proposed service.
    • He commented that, while no transportation system is the same as others, the Caltrain (commuter rail service between San Francisco and San Mateo and Santa Clara counties) Board of Directors has instituted weekend express service, called the Baby Bullet, and it is very popular. He stated that Caltrain has compensated for the weekend Baby Bullet service by eliminating other weekend service. He noted that the transition has been smooth.
    • He commented that some express buses in the Bay Area use variable fares, although Caltrain does not.
  • Director Sobel commented that he will vote in favor of the recommended Sunday service on GGT Route 101, with the understanding that other efficiencies will be sought to offset the cost of the added service. He stated his opinion that adding this service will be expensive in view of the financial status of the District.

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

RECOMMENDATION

The Transportation Committee recommends that the Board of Directors approve the implementation of Sunday bus service on Golden Gate Transit Route 101, on a pilot basis, for nine months, effective September 11, 2011, at an estimated net cost of $224,000.00.

Action by the Board at its Meeting of May 13, 2011 – Resolution
NON-CONSENT CALENDAR

AYES (11): Directors Boro, Cochran, Elsbernd, Moylan, Pahre, Renée, Sobel and Stroeh; Second Vice President Grosboll; First Vice President Eddie; President Reilly (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 March 2011, and includes the following charts:

  a.
Southbound Golden Gate Bridge Traffic Trend for the period from June 2004 to March 2011, showing the annual percentage change in traffic for the 12 months ending March 2011;
  b.
Golden Gate Ferry Ridership Trend for the period from June 2004 through March 2011 showing the annual percentage change in ridership for the 12 months ending March 2011; and,
  c.
GGT Bus Ridership Trend as a 12-month running total from June 2004 through March 2011 showing the annual percentage change in ridership for the 12 months ending March 2011.
     
 

The monthly report also included the Transit Service Performance Statistics Report for March 2011, showing that, during the month of March 2011, average weekday bus productivity decreased, and that weekend and holiday bus productivity also decreased, 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 Golden Gate Transit (GGT) bus service performance of both District regional routes and Marin Transit local routes, for March 2011; and,
  b.
A spreadsheet from the Auditor-Controller outlining the history of payments made from July 1, 2010 to April 2011, by MCTD 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 Packet for April 18, 2011;
  b.
Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) Special Joint Meeting of the Board of Commissioners and the TAM Executive Committee, Agenda for April 11, 2011;
  c.
TAM Executive Committee Meeting Minutes March 14, 2011;
   
 

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 10:15 a.m.

     

 

Respectfully submitted,

s/ Gerald Cochran, Acting and Vice Chair
Transportation Committee