Save Lives, Save the VTA 22!
Save Lives, Save the VTA 22!
We understand that the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority (VTA) is facing a grave $20 million deficit in the coming year. It is clear that this requires tough decisions on the part of the staff and board to find ways to deal with this deficit. As concerned citizens and riders we do not agree with the elimination of the Santa Clara County only 24 hour transportation route, the VTA 22 bus line between 1 AM and 4 AM. This bus line is a critical life-line for homeless riders and the primary transportation service for people who end or begin their shifts in the middle of the night.
On May 2, the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority (VTA) Board will be voting for the Final 2019 New Service Transit Plan to address the VTA deficit. We believe that the VTA has the moral imperative to find other means to deal with this deficit because if they cut this service, lives will be lost and riders will suffer.
Some VTA decision points and our responses:
1) VTA Board Parameter: Must adjust the network’s ridership/coverage balance to 90% ridership and 10% coverage.
Answer: Per staff, VTA 22 even at the 1 AM to 4 AM hours has about 200 to 220 boardings across 6 trips. This line at night is performing better than others in the day. Clearly it is not coverage or ridership that is the issue in this case.
2)The subsidy per rider is higher during these hours $8 in the day vs $40
Answer: The financial cost may be higher but the cost to the riders of removing service during these hours is just too high. People may come to the bus at night because there are not enough shelter beds, or they are fearful due to trauma experienced at the shelter. Some are newly homeless and not connected to services and others are too sick to stay outside. During the proposed 2 hour break in service some may decide to just wait outside until the route starts up again. The cost is not worth the suffering it will cause!
3) At the service providers meeting a staff member stressed that VTA is about transportation of all people and not specifically homeless, seniors or disabled people.
Answer: VTA has been providing this service for years and neither the VTA or non-profit service providers will be able to create a viable alternative before October. VTA staff says that the $500,000 saved by stopping these hours must be found somewhere else if not in the proposed reduction. Look for new solutions but keep this life saving route going 24 hours a day:
- Perhaps VTA has property it could sell to recoup the loss?
- Many employees have very high overtime pay levels
- One of the guidelines for spending of our Measure B money is for Transit Operations and programs including seniors, disabled, students and people with low-income
By signing this petition we are saying to the VTA Board and staff to leave the VTA 22 schedule as is, that we believe our community must care for our most vulnerable citizens and look for $500,000 elsewhere.
In UNITY with the VTA 22 riders!