To celebrate SamTrans’ 40th Anniversary, we’ll be highlighting historical moments from 1976, the first year of the agency’s existence. Beginning in May, the monthly series will examine a corresponding milestone that occurred four decades ago.
By Will Reisman, @WillReisman
After an act of State Legislature and subsequent voter approval created the San Mateo County Transit District in 1974, it would take two years before the agency would officially start revenue service, which debuted on July 1, 1976.
In the months leading up to that decisive moment, the SamTrans Board of Directors was responsible for approving several important resolutions that would establish the framework for the burgeoning transportation agency.
Several of those crucial decisions came in May 1976. On May 26, the nine-member Board passed a resolution establishing the classification of service, fare zones, and rate structures for SamTrans. The act founded operating boundaries and cost points for the agency, as well as enshrining discounted fare levels for groups such as seniors. It was a vital administrative step for SamTrans, which was inheriting the rules and regulatory policies of 11 disparate transit operators in San Mateo County.
Earlier that month, on May 12, the Board approved a resolution ensuring that SamTrans would be an Equal Employment Opportunity agency, committed to pursuing practices that would ensure that no worker was discriminated based on their race, sex, ancestry, age or physical disabilities, among other qualifiers.
On that same day, the Board passed a resolution to seek a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to help procure equipment and infrastructure for the agency’s capital needs. As part of that grant application, the SamTrans Board included language to ensure the participation of minority-owned businesses in the acquisition of these materials.
While SamTrans hadn’t yet quite started the practice of transporting passengers in May 1976, the action taken by the Board that month laid the groundwork for those services to begin in earnest by July.