VTA to hold meeting on proposed bus changes

Reductions would cut 'Hotel 22' bus line

Some bus routes serving Mountain View could be reduced or eliminated as part of a new service plan proposed by the Valley Transportation Authority. The transit agency will hold a special meeting in Mountain View on Wednesday evening, Feb. 6, to gauge public reaction to the plan.

Among the modifications, VTA would eliminate Express Route 185, which runs from the Gilroy Transit Center to Mountain View's North Bayshore, due to low ridership. The route had about 45 riders per weekday on average, according to VTA data from last year.

On the other side of the spectrum, VTA is also proposing reductions to Route 22. This 24-hour, seven-day-a-week bus line is known as the "Hotel 22" because homeless people often ride it continuously through the night, using it as a safe place to sleep in lieu of shelter. This route goes from Eastridge Transit Center in San Jose up to Palo Alto, running mostly along El Camino Real.

Route 22 has the highest ridership of all the bus lines in Santa Clara County with about 9,740 riders on an average weekday. The proposed VTA changes would eliminate Route 22 service from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. on all days of the week.

VTA officials say about 40 to 45 people use Route 22 as a shelter between these hours. VTA officials say providing service during these early-morning hours is costly because it requires drivers, dispatch staff and security at the transit centers. Normally those labor costs are spread out between all the bus routes throughout the county, VTA spokeswoman Holly Perez told the Voice.

"We are certainly aware of the impact that this proposal could have on homeless riders and those who may rely on this service as transportation to get to and from work," Perez said. "While we recognize that members of our community have used our buses as a safe haven, the cities and county play a critical role in tackling homelessness."

Other changes include reductions to Route 81, which runs from downtown San Jose to Moffett Field. That bus line will no longer make a special detour on weekday afternoons to pick up students at St. Francis High School in Mountain View.

Despite the cuts, VTA officials say they will improve service levels on some highly trafficked bus lines. For example, the Rapid 522 express line that runs along El Camino Real, could see improved frequency, with buses arriving every 15 minutes during commute hours.

A full list proposed changes can be found on the VTA website.

VTA officials have scheduled a public meeting to discuss the proposed changes at 6 p.m. on Feb. 6 at the Mountain View Senior Center at 266 Escuela Ave.

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Like this comment
Posted by Curious
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 7, 2019 at 1:00 pm

So, don't keep us in suspense. Were there any comments on VTA's changes?

5 people like this
Posted by PA Resident
a resident of another community
on Feb 8, 2019 at 10:41 pm

VTA is not interested in north county.

VTA considers itself support for poor people who have all day to get where they are going.

VTA needs to be completely revamped and offer a service to attract as efficient alternative to driving solo. It needs to offer efficient service to airports and other places where people want to go without the hassle of hunting for parking.

We need a service that will cross city and county boundaries, and bring in workers from across the Bay or from the coast. What we have now is pathetic.

3 people like this
Posted by Show me the money
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2019 at 8:38 pm

The VTA is not about transportation. It is about VTA employees and project consultants and contractors. The Voice should run a chart of VTA employee salaries and benefits - like another newspaper sonetimes presents.

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