I’m going to put this question of transit agency governance in a regional perspective.
Why are we electrifying caltrain and bringing it downtown?You may recognize these maps from Plan Bay AreaWe are planning for 700,000 new households, And 1.1 million new jobsThe locations for growth were chosen because of their ability to support compact, transit-served communities AND to create places that help people live their lives without destroying the planet.
We are doing these project so people don’t have to live like this.Plan Bay Area model shows that we can get from 50% drive alone and 15% transit, bike and ped to 48% drive alone and 19% bike, ped and transit.I think we need to challenge ourselves to do much better than that.
But I think the real purpose of these projects is this – leaving a planet and a region that is beautiful for the many generations to come. So that my kids can enjoy snow on the sierras.I hope we can hold on to that long term view through this conversation.
But if we actually want to grow this way without terminal gridlock, transit needs to carry far more riders than it does today. To do that,we don’t just need a lot, lot more transit, we need smart, elegant transit.That works for riders, and which actually supports a compact land use pattern, which actually supports a better lifestyle for our region.There are three questions about caltrain, really: how will it be funded, who will operate it, and who will govern it.Caltrain electrification and the DTX are very important to regional goals and are closely tied to the rest of the regional transit network. And the question of governance is about how Caltrain is about its role in the regional network – Is it integrated more with high speed rail? With an emphasis on speed?Is it integrated more with the regional rail network like BART, Transbay Buses, or Capital Corridor? With an emphasis on schedules, fares, etc.And how is Caltrain electrification an opportunity to reduce the existing fragmentation in our system.
Ridership model, the ones that are used to choose these projects are not sensitive to the user experience, but riders are.Here are some kinds of fragmentation that riders experience:Navigation – different maps that show one operator and not othersBrand – a rider shouldn’t have to remember the names of several different transit agenciesSchedule – schedule coordination is always a challenge for transit operators and really frustrating for ridersFare Payment – this has gotten better with clipper but there are still totally different fare structures between operatorsInformation (apps, real time information) – should every transit operator have a different app and different kids of real time data?Station Access –
[This is a photo of BART during the strike.]And there are the types of fragmentation that affect riders indirectly:Infrastructure Planning Corridor PlanningObtaining Capital FundingFleet Procurement/MaintenanceStation Area PlanningData SharingThere is not one management modal that clearly jumps out as a solution. But we should be able to rationally and objectively decide which agency in our region is the best to provide which service.
-when regional services such as BART and Caltrain were implemented, rather than considering how to bring transit operations throughout the area together, the governments simply decided to create another, independent authority. Local entities could maintain political control over their bus networks, only being willing to allow a regional board control over the regional network. A bus service problem in Union City, for instance, would be resolved by leaders only in Union City, not some far-off cost-cutter in San Francisco. Ultimately, that made planning and funding less politically controversial from the beginning, but the long-term result is confusion among customers and problematic connections between services.
Plan Bay Area Goals
Foc dtx 2.11.14
The Future Governance of Caltrain
Fragmentation that affects riders directly
Fragmentation that affects riders indirectly
obtaining capital funding
fleet procurement and maintenance
station area planning
• Should a transit operator be governed by an elected board,
appointed officials, or ex-officio officials?
• Does it make sense to separate long range regional rail planning and
short range operations decision?
• How much should transit riders pay for infrastructure
(we don’t make drivers do this!)
• When can urban and suburban communities
share a transit operator?
• Whose labor contract applies when agencies merge?
• Which of the regions transit riders should be subsidized the most?
• How can changing governance improve funding?
The Future Governance of Caltrain
• Improved access to rail and bus services
• Improved Caltrain service by providing direct access to downtown San
• Enhanced connectivity between Caltrain and other major transit providers
• Modernization of the Transbay Terminal that meets future transit needs
• Reduced non-transit vehicle use
• Accommodating projected growth in travel demand in the San Jose-San
• Reduced traffic congestion on US Highway 101 and I-280 between San
Jose and San Francisco and reduced vehicle hours of delay on major
freeways in the Peninsula corridor
• Provide connectivity to a future Geary line.
• Improved regional air quality by reducing auto emissions
• Direct access to downtown San Francisco for future intercity and highspeed rail service
• Alleviation of blight and revitalization of the Transbay Terminal Area
• Support of local economic development goals.