There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Paying for a better Sacramento Regional Transit

Sacramento Regional Transit moves into the second phase of its Regional Transit Master Plan revision: How to pay for it?

Over the last six months, the Sacramento Regional Transit District received valuable input from over 2,000 community members who agree that that the vision for the Sacramento region includes a high quality and high frequency transit system. Now, RT needs your input to determine how we can fund future transit services and improvement projects that were identified as important to the region.
Eight community hearings have been scheduled between Oct. 9 and Nov. 13. And again, just as RT did with earlier community hearings, there are no weekend hearings. If you can't make a 6 p.m. start time on a weekday, you'll have to send RT your ideas some other way. For me, that failure to consider people who work for a living -- choice riders -- says a great deal about why RT faces a difficult road as it considers how to garner the votes necessary to pay for an effective transit system. (I know, you've heard it all before here.)

That's not to say there isn't support for improving RT's lackluster service. On Sept. 10, The Sacramento Bee reported that the North State Building Industry Association and the Environmental Council of Sacramento have discovered they have a common interest: improving transit.

The builders and ECOS have decided that meeting pollution-reduction mandates will require denser housing developments closer to jobs. But that, they say, only works if the area is served by a usable bus and light-rail system. David Mogavero of the Environmental Council of Sacramento, and developer Michael Winn, chairman of the Building Industry Association board, told The Bee their goal is to come up with a list of funding ideas and to work with transit agencies to implement them.

Personally, I'd like to see something more than another increase in the sales tax. I want an end to free parking. It would have to be regionwide. Rancho Cordova should no longer profit from its acres of employee parking lots. But at the same time, Rancho Cordova should see all of the money raised from an end of its free parking go to improve the ghastly service Rancho Cordova currently receives.

That's my 2 cents.


Anonymous said...

I took the survey just now. Hopefully better late than never. And I'll send comments to RT since I can't make a 6 p.m. hearing, because I work a job with regular hours, and I'm not home until after 6 p.m. I also have a question. Do the bus drivers get enough sleep? Is there a requirement? This morning at Sac State, the driver was napping as we waited outside the bus doors - for several minutes anyway. Then she woke up, opened the doors, and we walked in. There were passengers in the bus too - not napping. Should I have knocked on the door? Did I do the right thing? What's the etiquette here?

John said...

The question of whether bus drivers are allowed to sleep during their breaks is a new one for me. They are, however, allowed to make everyone get off the bus and wait for them to finish their break.

Today, I was at American River College waiting to go home on the No. 82. The bus arrived at the stop 10 minutes early. The driver opened the door just enough to tell the waiting crowd that he was on his break and no one could get on. He then closed the door and read a newspaper and ate a Popsicle. At one minute before departure time, he opened the doors.

I suppose it's no big deal when this happens on a warm fall day. However, I've been made to wait in drenching rain by drivers and I really don't appreciate it.

If the bus is at the stop, the driver should let the passengers board and wait in comfort for the departure. If the driver doesn't want to be bothered, he should take the bus and his break somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

This morning our driver, a different one from my first comment, after letting me on, took a seat in the middle of the bus with the rest of us, and read the newspaper. After several minutes, he walked back up front to his seat, opened the door, some riders boarded, and off we went. The bus was on this whole time, but I'm sure it was safely in some gear.