Roadshow: VTA makeover; BART dumps Caltrain-SFO link
- Published Friday, January 11, 2008, by the San Jose Mercury News
VTA launches major service changes
By Gary Richards
Mercury News Staff Columnist
Q What ever happened to talking about alternative modes of
transportation -- like buses, trains and bicycles -- on a regular
A Today is the day, for good reason. Monday, the Valley
Transportation Authority begins a significant change in bus service,
affecting nearly all of its 74 routes. Some routes will get more
buses running more frequently, while a few are being eliminated.
To learn more about the changes, visit <http://www.vta.org>, call
(408) 321-2300 or look for VTA workers in yellow vests at stations
this week and next.
Q I am thinking about taking mass transit to work and will need to
start on a bus line and then transfer to light rail. Does the single-
fare rate of $1.75 allow you to start on a bus and transfer to light
A No. If are going to be transferring from light rail to a bus, buy
a day pass. It's good for unlimited rides on both bus and light rail
for an entire day. The pass costs $2 for seniors and those with
disabilities, $4 for youths and $5 for adults. For regular adult
riders, a $61.54 monthly pass is the best buy. The regular $1.75 fare
covers just a single ride and cannot be used to transfer.
Q Can you figure out what BART has against Caltrain users? Some
brainiac decided that in order to get potential riders to downtown
San Francisco a little faster, BART no longer runs to the airport
from Millbrae. As a conductor pointed out, it is now faster to get
off Caltrain at Hillsdale and take a bus to the airport than to take
BART. ... Sounds like it's going to be more of a hassle to get to
SFO on BART than it's worth if coming from Caltrain. I guess more
people will put their cars back on 101 or call a cab.
Larry Blair, Paul Krill and more
A Unfortunately, less than 450 people a day were riding BART from
Millbrae to the airport. They now must take the train north to San
Bruno, and backtrack to the airport. The change helps the 3,700
riders traveling from Millbrae north with stops at Colma, South San
Francisco and San Bruno every seven minutes instead of every 15.
Q On Jan. 2 at about 6:30 a.m. in Palo Alto, I was on my bicycle
when I was struck by a motorist exiting a parking lot. I'm a regular,
law-abiding, bike commuter and am OK -- abrasions and bruises not
withstanding. To the lady who struck me: I'm not angry. You probably
weren't even thinking that someone might be out on a bike that early,
and you were only looking for cars. I hope your day got better.
A Boy, with that generous attitude, please continue.
Q I'd like to take this opportunity to remind motorists that there
are people out riding bikes on these cold, dark mornings. Most have
proper lights and wear bright and reflective clothing. Most of us
aren't fanatics or out to prove anything. We just like riding our
bikes. And every cyclist I know realizes that in a collision between
a bike and a car, the car always wins.
So, motorists, please, when exiting a parking lot or side street and
entering traffic, look for bikes, too. Most of us are traveling 15 to
20 mph -- faster than you may think.
A Russ is doing his part to ease global warming, biking to work in
Fremont. I hope his pleas get your attention.
Q One night recently I received a frantic call from my wife, who
had left her purse on light rail while making a transfer, leaving
her stranded at the River Oaks station with no money, keys,
identification or cell phone. I called VTA customer service to see
whether there was anything they could do. After a few checks by the
operator, I found out that my wife had enlisted the help of the
conductor of the next train. He notified the train that my wife had
just deboarded to look for the purse. He looked, found it and passed
it off to the conductor of the train going back toward River Oaks.
Within 20 minutes, my wife had her purse back, with all contents
intact. Kudos to the VTA operator, and the customer service rep, for
ensuring that my wife's purse was quickly returned. You all deserve
A Yes, indeed.
Contact Gary Richards at mrroadshow@... or (408) 920-5335.