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State to audit Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority

Original post made on Mar 24, 2023

Santa Clara County's largest public transit agency will be audited by the state as one lawmaker looks to change up how it's run.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, March 24, 2023, 1:35 PM

Comments (5)

Posted by Dan Waylonis
a resident of Jackson Park
on Mar 24, 2023 at 2:28 pm

Dan Waylonis is a registered user.

It should be able to calculate the cost per rider mile. I suspect it doesn't fare favorably against ride sharing services like Uber or Lyft. VTA needs to contract its services to ones that it can run without a loss.

Posted by ivg
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2023 at 7:29 am

ivg is a registered user.

No transit agency, at least in the US, covered its own operating expenses from fares, even before COVID. The same is true of highways: they're subsidized by taxpayers, well beyond the gas tax. Sure, VTA had always run especially large losses, but let's not set unrealistic or unfair expectations.

Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Mar 27, 2023 at 7:48 am

SRB is a registered user.

Both Lyft and Uber have been consistently running with operating losses. Difference with VTA is that VCs subsidize these losses.

Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2023 at 1:41 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

VTA gets 90% of its funding for transit from the public subsidies. A fare of $2.50 is matched by another $22.50 to mean that payment equates to $25. So it is NOT cheaper than most Lyft or Uber rides, even if those rides are really short!

The problem is that there are not enough customers for VTA's service. The average bus is close to empty. A few fraction of runs are heavily used and they do most of the actual farebox recovery. The farebox recovery for VTA is among the lowest in the country, if not the actual lowest. VTA is way bad.

Consider the ridiculously large size of VTA. It is not just about public transit. It has a lot of budget for road maintenance and the like. VTA is TOO BIG. Take away all but public transit at the very least. There should be separate agencies! It's so very bad that it escapes reasonable criticism because there are too many issues. It's so bad it escapes detection of just how bad it is.

Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 27, 2023 at 3:09 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Wow, @LongResident, I had no idea. Thank you for your comment.

Related - I've been on a quest to understand exactly how the RHNA targets were set for MV. WHY is MV being asked to build the most housing, as a percentage of existing households, in the region among cities with more than 5,000 residents? Along the way, I learned that the targets were apparently set based on population PREDICTIONS that were made about the future, including something called Plan Bay Area 2050, Web Link . Isn't that great? The overlords have decided what the future is going to look like, period. They must have some amazing crystal balls, eh?

"Plan Bay Area 2050 serves as the Bay Area's Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), as required by federal regulations, and the Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS), as required by state statute."

Doesn't sound so bad, right?

"Plan Bay Area 2050 outlines a roadmap for the Bay Area’s future. While it pinpoints policies and investments necessary to advance the goal of a more affordable, connected, diverse, healthy and vibrant Bay Area, Plan Bay Area 2050 neither funds specific infrastructure projects nor changes local policies. Cities and counties retain all local land use authority."

Check out that last line, which is obviously no longer true. MV is being mandated to add 11K housing units, based on guesses about what our city would/should look like in the year 2050! Those guesses were made in a Regional Transportation Plan, by entities that are doing such a bad job that "It's so bad it escapes detection of just how bad it is."

And then MV City Staff, who seem to be running the show, have somehow upped our target from 11K to 17K, to ensure that we "comply" and thus don't face sanctions. And of course even though the economy now includes massive layoffs and even bank runs(!), we are just going to keep marching along to the ridiculous tune that has been set by the state.

I don't think this will end well.

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