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Public Transport Think Tank needed

Original post made by Resident, Palo Verde, on Jun 7, 2007

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?

Comments (5)

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Posted by Grandma
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 8, 2007 at 7:43 am

The problem does not need yet another citizens "pink and blue ribbon task force"!!! It needs the PAUSD to step up to the plate and provide safe school bus transportation for all its students, as it once did.

Several years ago the School District provided free bus service for all elementary children living one half mile from their school, and all high school students living a mile or more from their school. Right now the Los Altos Hills and Palo Alto Hills students get school bus service because they PAY for it. This bus service should be extended throughout the school district with the parents paying an annual fee. This way we would know that our children are being safely transported to and from school.

Palo Alto's free shuttle buses were supposed to help residents get around town, but they have become a de facto school bus service; because they are free, and the the PAUSD stopped providing school buses. In other words, the City got into the business of transporting students because the School District backed out of its responsibility.

Free City shuttle bus service should end; the taxpayers of Palo Alto cannot afford to pick up the tab forever. To make bus service equal throughout the city, whether its the shuttle, VTA or school bus, everyone who rides a bus should pay something. A system where you have to pay for one service, the VTA, and not the others will not work, and that is one of the reasons the VTA wants to reroute the #88 bus.

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 9, 2007 at 11:04 am

Years ago, the county tried a service where people would call for a ride, and a jitney would be scheduled to pick you up at your door and deliver you to your destination, along with others going in that general direction. I don't know why it failed and can't remember its name, but with advances in computer tech today would make such service more practical.

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Posted by A resident
a resident of another community
on Jun 9, 2007 at 11:49 am

The jitney service cost too much, and the County started the VTA bus routes. Also the taxi cab businesses did not like it; they considered it unfair competition.

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Posted by tired of bickering
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 9, 2007 at 1:28 pm

Dear Grandma - whether its school buses or the shuttle - the same tax $$ are paying for it. Do you have a suggestion of what PAUSD should cut to pay for bus service? I agree that the shuttle need not be free, although keeping it low cost is great, with discounts (or no cost) for the disabled and seniors

Like this comment
Posted by Grandma
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 9, 2007 at 2:27 pm

Tired of Bickering:

I said: "Right now the Los Altos Hills and Palo Alto Hills get school bus service because they PAY for it. This bus service should be extended throughout the School District with the parents paying an annual fee."

Right now many parents pay for their children to ride the 88 bus. Nothing will have to be cut to pay for a school bus; it would be paid for by the parents of those students using the school bus service.

I go on to say: "To make bus service equal throughout the City, whether it's the shuttle, VTA, or school bus, everyone who rides a bus should pay something."

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