May 9, 2006 > Transit Policy Advisory Committee meeting
Transit Policy Advisory Committee meeting
by Steve Warga
Wednesday evening, May 3, the Policy Advisory Committee for Alameda County (AC) Transit Special District 2 convened a public hearing at the Newark Siliman Center on Mowry Avenue. A brand new Van Hool bus, gleaming brightly in the late afternoon sun, awaited public inspection in the parking lot. Although shorter and more maneuverable than their full-sized cousins, there's no mistaking them for anything but the bus you're looking for at your stop. Designed with mobility-impaired passengers in mind, these "minibuses" feature easy access and roomy seats and aisles with bold splashes of red, black, gray and white throughout the interior. AC Transit plans to have 214 of these fuel-efficient vehicles in operation by the end of August, deployed on routes used most frequently by seniors. Riders and drivers alike have high praise for these new buses.
The meeting focused primarily on a review of the Independent Assessment Study of District 2 Transit Services commissioned in May 2005. Conducted by the Transit Resource Center headquartered in Winter Springs, Fla., this study led to a series of proposed route changes which will be presented for public comment on Wednesday, May 10 at Newark City Hall. Two hearings will be held; at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Proposed changes aim to accommodate the needs of Fremont and Newark including instituting "flexible service" routing in certain areas. It appears that AC Transit has produced a set of changes well-suited to the majority of riders' requirements. Specific details may be reviewed at www.actransit.org.
Members of the Sikh Temple on Gurdwara Road in Fremont were the only citizens in attendance. They spoke to the Committee, expressing frustration with AC Transit for slow response to ridership needs of temple attendees. Transit Director Joe Bischofberger encouraged these individuals to attend next Wednesday's hearings where their concerns would be most effectively aired. He also noted that the Policy Advisory Committee would be sure to communicate their concerns to the full Transit Board in advance of the public hearings. No decisions will be made until after those hearings. Changes agreed upon will phase-in over the summer months.
Committee Member Steve Cho, who is also Vice-Mayor of Fremont, offered a suggestion that the Policy Advisory Committee meet more frequently. Upon hearing a proposal for quarterly meetings, Cho approved of this idea, wryly noting that Wednesday's meeting was the first one convened in the 18 months he's been a member.