SamTrans proposes to cut Coastside bus service, public meeting Thurs, Aug 6

By on Wed, July 29, 2009

SamTrans proposes to cut Coastside bus service, public meeting Thurs, Aug 6

SamTrans is proposing to eliminate or reduce Route 17, the only bus route on the Coastside. There will be a meeting to discuss this and other cuts on Thursday, Aug 6 at 6pm, at Cunha Intermediate School in Half Moon Bay.

Faced with a budget deficit of $28.4 million, SamTrans will hold four community meetings to receive public comments about service reductions and fare increases following request from its board to cut costs by 15 percent. Route 17 is on a list of routes under consideration for "elimination, modification or reduction". Routes that affect the Coastside on the list:

Express Service
Route CX – Pacifica to Colma BART
Route DX – Pacifica to San Francisco

Route 14 -  Linda Mar, Oddstad Park, Casa Pacific
Route 17 - Moss Beach (Seton Medical Center Coastside), El Granada, Half Moon Bay (Post Office, Downtown/City Hall, Moon Ridge Child Care Center)

Other possible changes include:

  • Increasing the adult fare by up to 25 cents and all other fare media by a corresponding amount
  • Increasing paratransit fares by up to 75 cents
  • Reducing paratransit service to correspond to bus service changes
  • Eliminating the 15 percent discount on SamTrans passes with the purchase of the Muni sticker
  • Other changes to the language of the Codified Tariff to be consistent with partner agencies

According to SamTrans,

several factors contributed to the shortfall: since Fiscal Year 2008 more than $11 million in state funds, which make up approximately 22 percent of the operating budget, have been eliminated.  The District also has been impacted by the recession and job losses: sales tax revenues, which provide 44 percent of the District’s revenue, are down 5 percent so far for FY2009.  Interest income also has declined, and ridership is beginning to drop.

SamTrans has already implemented a number of cost-cutting measures to reduce the deficit.  A new fuel hedging program, which will set a cap on the price the District pays for diesel fuel, is expected to save approximately $1 million.  Midyear, staff scrutinized the operating budget line by line, successfully cutting or deferring $750,000 in expenses. Currently, the agency is undergoing an extensive reorganization; layoffs are anticipated this fall.  A fare increase, which will generate approximately $1.5 million annually, went into effect last February.

Comments will be accepted up until the Aug. 12 public hearing.  To comment, attend one of the community meetings or public hearing, send e-mail to [email protected], send regular mail to District Secretary, SamTrans, P.O. Box 3006, San Carlos, CA 94070-1306, or call 1.800.660.4287 (TDD for hearing impaired only 650.508.6448).