Due to the possible demise of route 88 and the accident on the overcrowded cross town shuttle, it seems reasonable that a Think Tank should be set up to deal with local public transportation. In this day and age public transportation is being revitalised in urban communities and we need to make sure that Palo Alto gets a decent public transport system.
Yes, we have Caltrain and yes, we have VTA buses, but that is not able to serve those who need it adequately. If the stories are true, the population is aging and we do not want senior who are not safe needing to drive. We have overcrowded schools and we do not need more cars on the roads. We do not have an adequate school bus system. We have new housing and new companies moving into the area. We have the possibility of both Stanford hospital and shopping centers growing with the need of more patients, more employees and more shoppers needing to get there.
What we don't have is a transport service that serves us adequately. For those of us who live in the South, we are not served by the shuttle and route 88 is possibly being axed. There is no way for students to get to either Gunn or Paly by public transport. The new housing will make matters much worse.
Palo Alto is constantly being criticized for having surveys, and studies, and so on and so forth, but on this particular occasion, we need to have a realistic study done to find out what needs to be done and how it can be made to work.
High Schools need to advertise public transport methods in its welcome packets and the same can be said for many of the large employers in the city. Buses need to be frequent during peak usage and not necessarily large. Fares should be charged, but with free passes for the elderly and disabled, and discounted for those who buy passes on a regular basis.
The city and the school district need to be involved as well as community groups, particularly those working with youth, seniors or the disabled.
Many of our residents have lived elsewhere in the world where public transport on a day to day basis is the norm not the exception. If we can build a decent system, publicise its schedules and give value for money, then my guess is that it can work.
How about it?