Did you know Pleasanton could have its own local bus system next December? It looks like a pretty good bet, although it wouldn't surprise me if the projected start up date slides a little and it really takes another month or two after that. We will be establishing our bus system in a joint effort with Dublin.
For a long time I have wondered why Livermore had a bus system and Pleasanton did not. During the past few years it seemed there were more and more reasons why buses were needed here. Some of the more obvious are: schools trying to get out of the bus business, the regional shopping mall is open, and our commercial centers are beginning to flourish. Children not only need transportation to school but many teenagers have part-time jobs either requiring the heavy expense of a car or a very reliable parent as chauffeur. Additionally our senior population continues to increase and many find public transportation the only or the preferred way to remain active and able to get around in their community.
Recognizing what I felt to be a significant need, the first job was finding the money for the ever present requirement of ''a study.'' Our City Council realistically felt city staff already had their hands full and it was unwilling to commit city funds at this time. Then we found out that the Metropolitan Transportation Commission was willing to fund our study. Dublin also expressed their interest in participating.
In addition, and the real beauty of it, is that this won't cost us anything we aren't paying for already. The State collects our gas tax monies, which through the Transportation Development Act (TDA) are used to support public transportation (on a per capita basis). BART has been receiving our share of these TDA funds, for which we get limited bus service. By forming our own system, Pleasanton and Dublin's share of approximately $800,000 will be available directly to us. BART will continue to provide express bus service to the Hayward station. So in one sense, our bus system won't cost us anything. There is no reason not to ''go for it.''
The contract for the study was set and finally all the necessary information is in hand. Reviews have been made by an assortment of governmental agencies. The preferred routes are identified, as well as the preferred bureaucratic organization which will be through a joint powers agreement. This agreement is with the approval of the Pleasanton and Dublin City Councils, as well as Livermore and Alameda County.
Each city will have two votes and the County one vote to represent the unincorporated areas. The advantages of joining forces with Livermore are several. The Valley will have a unified and stronger voice in dealing on transportation issues with MTC, BART, and other governmental agencies. We will not have to duplicate administrative overhead (as two separate transportation agencies would have had to). In addition, we can consolidate maintenance and bus yard facilities with the aim of serving the whole valley with coordinated service.
Throughout all of the meetings that have been going on for the past year, there were several key points that were considered. Livermore needed assurance that its RIDEO system would not get reduced or diluted by our start-up costs. All three cities, Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore needed assurance that the available funds would be equitably divided and that within each city there would be autonomy in establishing the routes the buses travel. The policy committee, made up of representatives from each city now feels that these concerns have been met.
There has been community concern about our Valley's air quality and the problem of pollution. Efficient public transportation is an integral part of the solution. With a good local system in place, making good use of the BART system should prove easier than in the past. The BART buses will be made a more truly express line and they will continue to be our link to Hayward until a train service is in place.
What we will be getting now for all those tax dollars that have previously been evaporating is a bus system with the capability to provide buses within 3 blocks of over 80% of our citizens, hourly service from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm weekdays and 9:00 am to 6:00 pm on Saturday, half hourly service during peak hours, including after school, and fares will be the same as RIDEO.
There have been and are a great many significant things going on in our city. While buses may not be a top priority for many of us, public transportation is an important facet of city services. For many of our citizens it is the only way they have to get to jobs or other activities important to the quality of their lives. I am extremely pleased to have had a part in making this choice available to Pleasanton.
To see a reproduction of the original article and edition of Pleasanton Pathways, visit: April 16, 1984 Pathways.