This is just an unpleasant sign of the times when we have to mention that VTA is planning on increasing fares but reducing both bus and light rail service. Just last week, I blogged about meetings for the proposed BART expansion to the South Bay as well as a on seminar on buying real estate with a sustainable lifestyle in mind, e.g. using public transportation. But as most of realize, the economy has been hurting and transit agencies all over are losing on much needed public funds. Combine this with the decrease in revenues by the transit agencies and no wonder VTA is proposing fare increases and service reductions. But how are we supposed to live a sustainable lifestyle when either (A) we can’t afford public transportation or (B) there isn’t sufficient public transportation to justify relying on it as a regular mode of transportation?
According to VTA, sales tax receipts fell 21% in the most recent fiscal quarter which is an estimated loss of $5.8 million. Yikes! Last month, the VTA Board of Directors adopted the budget for the upcoming fiscal years which included fare increases scheduled for January 2010. Due to the increasing loss of revenues, the VTA Board of Directors will propose speeding up the fare increase so that it starts as soon as October. Moreover, VTA will be holding public meetings between August 10-13 to discuss the proposed service reduction plans for several bus lines and light rail routes.
If we really wanted a thriving downtown chock full of residents who subscribe to a sustainable lifestyle, we need to have reliable, affordable public transportation. Most Californians are raised in a car culture and can’t imagine living without a car. But if we really are striving to reduce our dependence on oil and live green, we need public transportation to take us where we need to go.
VTA Board of Directors Meeting
August 6 at 5:30pm
Board of Supervisors’ Chambers
County Government Center
70 W. Hedding Street
Downtown San Jose
Visit the VTA website for more information on the proposed service reduction public meetings.
For questions, please call (408) 321-2300.