The Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA) was recognized in October as the California Transit Agency of the Year for 2018. The award was presented at the Small Operators Awards Ceremony held as part of the California Transit Association's Annual Fall Conference. This annual award is given to a California transit agency that has demonstrated improvement in the performance of its system including ridership, customer service, service expansion, and financial management.
As the nomination document explains, "there are many transit systems that have implemented major route and schedule redesigns resulting in increased efficiency and ridership gains. There are several agencies that have entered into partnerships with Uber and/or Lyft to improve mobility options for their constituents. There may even be a few that have taken the lead on an interregional rail planning effort or spearheaded legislation to permit a pilot test of shared autonomous vehicle technology in transit operation on city streets. But there are probably not many organizations that have taken on all of these projects in a single year."
LATVA received the award in recognition of those accomplishments over the past year. The transit agency's major changes to its fixed bus route services gave riders improved access to BART stations, the Altamont Corridor Express, Las Positas College, and other key Tri-Valley destinations. The agency also created a Shared Autonomous Vehicle project near the Hacienda BART Station to help provide first and last mile connections to BART.
Moreover, the agency worked with Las Positas College to successfully develop a Student Mobility Initiative to fund unlimited access transit passes for all its students. The initiative was two years in the making as LAVTA and Las Positas College worked together to build support for a financially sustainable student transit pass program. Unsurprisingly, given all those improvements, LAVTA ridership increased by 7.2% in fiscal year 2018 compared to the year before.
"It's an honor that the hard work and collaborative efforts of the LAVTA Board and staff have been recognized with this statewide award," says Scott Haggerty, Alameda County Supervisor and LAVTA Board Chair. "This award would also not have been possible without the support of our member jurisdictions and our funding partners."
This past year LATVA launched Go Dublin, an on-demand real-time mobility alternative for Dublin residents utilizing a unique partnership with Uber and Lyft. It also partnered with the city of Livermore to relocate and rehabilitate the Southern Pacific Railroad's historic train depot for use as the agency's Livermore Transit Center sales and operations building. Finally, the agency serves as executive and administrative support for the Tri-Valley-San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority, which held its first board meeting in January 2018.
"It's amazing that so much was accomplished with such a lean, well-run organization," says David Haubert, Dublin Mayor and LAVTA Vice Chair. "We have much to be proud of."
These accomplishments are, in some ways, simply the most recent examples of the innovation LAVTA has brought to the Tri-Valley. One of Hacienda's key commuting benefits is the ECO Pass, which allows all of the park's employees and affiliated residents to ride the local Wheels buses for free seven days a week, 365 days a year. This pass, a key part of the nationally recognized commuter benefits program that Hacienda offers, was formed through a unique partnership between Hacienda and LAVTA.
With an executive and administrative staff of only 14, the transit agency serves nearly 2 million passengers a year with its Wheels bus and paratransit services. By reducing vehicle trips and traffic congestion on local streets, LAVTA supports environmental sustainability and improved air quality in the Tri-Valley region.
LAVTA was created in 1985 by the cities of Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton and Alameda County to serve area transit needs. The agency is supported financially by federal, state, and local agencies, including the Alameda County Transportation Commission's Measures B and BB, in addition to passenger fares.
For more information about the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority, please visit www.wheelsbus.com or the agency's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/wheelsbus.