Wheel Talk Episode 2: Measure W
DAN LIEBERMAN: Welcome to Wheel Talk. ALEX EISENHART: A show where we dive into the inner workings of Caltrain, SamTrans and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. We’re your friendly […]
DAN LIEBERMAN: Welcome to Wheel Talk. ALEX EISENHART: A show where we dive into the inner workings of Caltrain, SamTrans and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. We’re your friendly […]
DAN LIEBERMAN: Welcome to Wheel Talk.
ALEX EISENHART: A show where we dive into the inner workings of Caltrain, SamTrans and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. We’re your friendly neighborhood public servants and hosts, Alex Eisenhart,
LIEBERMAN: And Dan Lieberman. Join us as we take a wonky ride through the world of transportation and the work we do to keep you moving. We’re starting a new tradition here on Wheel Talk. Social media is key to how we communicate with our customers and vice versa, which often leads to some entertaining nuggets of Twitter hilarity. Each month, we’ll select just a few of them to share with you.
EISENHART: Here’s what caught our attention recently, and we start with @Kushaanshah. This is something where he used the very popular Face app and posted the before and after when he looked his current age and, I don’t know, like fifty years older from now. And the caption was, “Me before commuting to the South Bay from San Francisco versus me after an hour on the local Caltrain.” Now I will say, if you are going all the way from San Francisco to San José or vice versa on the local, it does take more than an hour. But you do have us on the sense that it does take a long time on local compared to the bullet trains. But in the future, that is going to change with more frequency and faster trains with electrification.
LIEBERMAN: But in the meantime, Kushaan, congratulations. You burned us.
LIEBERMAN: I look forward to seeing your face on Russian bots for years to come. Meanwhile, Mark Wilson @ctrlzee pointed out, “It must be 90 degrees on the Caltrain right now and some tech bro is still wearing his Patagonia puffer vest.” Frankly, I’ve never understood the point of that, so I’ve never been in a situation where my chest is very cold and my arms are too hot, so I say either wear a jacket or don’t, you cowards.
EISENHART: Now I have a kind of different perspective, because when it comes to vests in general, as a gay guy, I’m all for it, but when it comes to Patagonia vests, it’s just a totally different category of vests to me. Like it doesn’t really seem to, I don’t get it. I’m with you. Like the cold torso but then not cold arms, like it’s usually the other way around. Cut that out.
LIEBERMAN: Exactly, right. Like is it really worth it to be like oh yeah, Patagonia!
EISENHART: Mm, like no.
LIEBERMAN: Thanks for calling that out, Mark.
EISENHART: Yeah. The next one. @bitpixi. She writes, “I remember someone on Caltrain thought I was extra for using a planner notebook. They were like, what kind of tablet is that? And kept congratulating me for having the bravery to use paper.” This isn’t exactly Caltrain related except for the fact that it took place on Caltrain.
LIEBERMAN: This is a Bay Area thing, though.
EISENHART: Yeah, this is definitely Bay Area.
LIEBERMAN: I don’t think people in Nebraska are harassing people about using paper.
EISENHART: Right. They’re probably more protesting Patagonia vests if anything. Like no! You need to cover the whole thing, not just the torso! Yeah. This is, actually it’s one of the reasons why I like public transportation, because you just get exposed to people that you wouldn’t necessarily normally be friends with or even understand, but you just get a different perspective on the world that you may not necessarily be exposed to and get a bit better of an understanding of that.
LIEBERMAN: That’s healthy. People in cars are separated from each other. You need to embrace the people watching. You need to dive into the occasional weirdness and see what other people are doing. Get out of your bubble, folks.
EISENHART: Yeah. Now if you have anything to say or come across a transit tweet that makes your day, share it with us on Twitter @SamTrans or @Caltrain using the hashtag #WheelTalk.
LIEBERMAN: In the meantime, let’s get into the meat of this month’s episode.
EISENHART: This month’s episode is all about Measure W. Now for folks who may not know, Measure W is a half-cent transportation sales tax that was put on the ballot in 2018 in San Mateo County and passed.
LIEBERMAN: Passed by a slim two-thirds landslide.
EISENHART: That it did. What it does is it puts an additional $80 million to both SamTrans and the Transportation Authority to fund projects that will reduce traffic congestion on both highways and roadways, as well as improve transit services.
LIEBERMAN: This all came out of the Get Us Moving campaign, unfortunately acronymed GUM. That was a massive public information effort which helped to discover the priorities of voters in San Mateo County and was used to help define the funding ratio for how this new source of revenue is going to be spent.
EISENHART: Yeah. And there’s a lot of exciting new things that are going to be happening in the next 30 years that this funding is going to make possible, but there’s also some exciting stuff happening now that we want to bring to everyone’s attention. And so to do that, we brought in SamTrans Board Director Pete Ratto to discuss.
EISENHART: Peter Ratto, thank you so much for joining us on Wheel Talk.
PETER RATTO: Well, thank you for having me. I’m glad to be here.
EISENHART: We’re real excited to talk with you more about Measure W, but first I want to talk a little bit about you. Can you tell us and listeners a little bit about your background and what brought you into the position you’re in today?
RATTO: Well, it’s kind of an interesting path. Not too many people I think may have followed it. My actual other life, real job life, was working for the waste and recycling company. Recology, back from its, I don’t want to say earliest days, not when they transitioned to trucks from wagons, but a pretty long amount of time. But I was always heavily involved in operations, so I am familiar with vehicles and diesel engines and routing and handling customer complaints. So many of the things that we do here at SamTrans I did in my other life. I was on SamTrans CAC for about eight years. I would have been termed out. Then I joined the Board of Directors. But my interest in transit has always been there. My degree is in transportation management from San Francisco State, and I had thought someday I might actually end up working for a transit agency, but it turned out not to work out that way.
EISENHART: You ended up running one instead. That’s something. You’re directing.
RATTO: Yeah, exactly. I went right to the top. I didn’t want to…
EISENHART: And part of that was waste management, you said, right?
RATTO: Yes, yeah. The waste industry, which in itself is an interesting industry, much like public transit. And a lot of parallels, actually, so yeah. This is a comfortable place to be for me.
EISENHART: Now professionally speaking, of course, there is a lot of overlap because it’s a network of vehicles moving around, achieving some kind of a goal or achieving a task. But to say that you work in waste management, it’s sort of a fun thing just to have under your belt, I would think, in more casual settings outside the professional world, because if you’re, like let’s say in some kind of a disagreement with someone, and it gets like heated and someone yells at you and goes, “You’re garbage, Pete Ratto! You’re garbage!” You can go like yeah, it says that on my business card.
RATTO: That’s right.
EISENHART: You think that’s an insult, but it’s for real.
RATTO: Personally, I think waste management just gives me a real Sopranos flashback. But it is a problem. When you are, unfortunately if you’re in the waste industry, here in California not so bad, people get real excited and they like to talk about recycling. So you can definitely get a conversation going. But on the East Coast, if you say that you’re in the waste business, people might take three steps back, you know?
EISENHART: Oh, it’s a different perception about it.
RATTO: Different perception.
EISENHART: I did put an accent on there, assuming and East Coast person…
RATTO: Yeah, so whenever you’re on the East Coast, you have to be really careful.
LIEBERMAN: Just remember, we’ve got a dangerous director here. But let’s get right into it. We talked a little about Measure W. One thing we want to get into, fleet electrification got a lot of attention. We bought our first ten electric vehicles this year. Can you tell us a little bit about why that’s so important and necessary for the agency?
RATTO: Well, first of all, we’re under a state mandate to be completely zero emission by 2040. And in order to get to zero emission, because even the cleanest of clean diesels still is not zero emission. You have to look at other technology. Electric technology, whether it is battery electric like the way we are going now, or if it is fuel cell electric hybrids, those are zero emission vehicles, and they meet the criteria that the state has set. And we think we can easily meet the, we can actually beat the deadline. We’re hoping to be completely electric by 2033.
LIEBERMAN: And it’s particularly impressive considering that SamTrans gets all its power from Peninsula Clean Energy, so that’s 100 percent renewable all the way through.
RATTO: That’s right, 100 percent renewable energy right down the line, yes.
EISENHART: So you’ve ridden the new battery electric bus.
RATTO: Oh yeah, definitely.
LIEBERMAN: You’re not just a director. You’re a rider as well.
RATTO: That’s right. I’m not just a director. I am a rider.
EISENHART: And by the way, what are your more common routes that you’re on, by the way?
RATTO: Well, I now live right in downtown San Mateo, so quite honestly, I ride the ECR more than any route, and even the ECR Rapid. I am within fairly easy walking distance to a Rapid stop.
EISENHART: Oh cool.
RATTO: But my other home was up near Aragon High School, so at that time more frequently I would ride the 295 route down to Hillsdale Caltrain and get on Caltrain to go into downtown.
LIEBERMAN: I’m a Hillsdale grad, so we might have to fight it out later.
RATTO: Oh, okay.
EISENHART: For fellow riders, though, what can you tell folks in terms of what it’s like to ride the battery electric bus compared to our more traditional diesel fleet?
RATTO: Well, I think the first thing that you will realize is that when a bus starts moving, it is very, very quiet, much more quiet than a diesel bus. The vibration that you notice on a diesel bus is now gone. It pretty much glides along. Very smooth ride. But we have also gone to a slightly different seat design that is a little more padded and a little easier to keep clean, but it is very comfortable. And that same seat you will find on our new, still diesel powered, but our new articulated buses that will be coming into service very soon.
LIEBERMAN: And it’s also, they have USB ports in the seats as well.
RATTO: That’s right. So if you want to charge your mobile device, you will be able to plug in and charge it. If you are mobility challenged, these new buses are low floor to begin with, which means a step up, not even a full step from the sidewalk to the bus, but they also kneel. They kneel at the front and they actually kneel at the rear exit door. So very easy to enter, very easy to exit. Two spots for wheelchairs. And again, very easy for those that are mobility challenged or using a mobility device to get on the bus.
LIEBERMAN: Now you’ve forgotten my favorite feature of the electric buses, which is they actually have a back window instead of a giant filtration system.
RATTO: Yeah, yeah. They have a back window. And I don’t think I’ve seen a back window on a SamTrans bus in, gosh, I don’t know, probably since the early 70’s. So yes.
LIEBERMAN: You haven’t seen that since The Graduate was filmed. It’s good that we’ve got that option.
RATTO: That’s right, that’s right.
EISENHART: So I’m actually, sort of backing up a little bit, how has W changed our approach to fleet electrification? Now that we have this influx of funds for the next 30 some-odd years?
RATTO: Well, W, I mean with this added funding coming from W, because whenever you buy buses you get federal help, federal government pays for 80 percent of every bus. Well, you still have to make a 20 percent match. And with electric buses, it’s not, I know a lot of people think well, you got this new bus, you just take it, you get an extension cord, you plug it in at the shop and away you go, and no, you don’t. You need to have actually some extensive infrastructure in order to do that. And with Measure W, we will have, we’ll have more money to be able to direct to these different capital programs without having to put them off. We’ve got a lot of, and I’m sure that in terms of covering Measure W, almost everyone says that the thing that Measure W has given us, it’s given us flexibility. It’s given us some security. I mean, it’s not the be-all, end-all, but it’s getting us away from kind of always being just barely treading water to where we can actually make decisions without having to constantly be looking at well, how does this affect us down the line? Do we have enough money to do it? So yeah, Measure W gives us that cushion.
EISENHART: Right. And actually, speaking of decisions, this is a good segue into the next topic I wanted to bring up, which was fare changes. So immediately, almost immediately following the passage of Measure W, the board decided to not raise fares. That was one big change. Can you talk a little bit about what went into that decision?
RATTO: Yeah. We’re looking at fares, but we also realize that our rider, the average SamTrans rider, has a family income of less than $50,000 a year. And the last time I checked, no matter what poll you look at, San Mateo County is either the second, third or fourth richest county in America. And it’s a tough, tough place to live for folks that are at that income level. And even granted there are different fares available, there are youth fares, there are senior fares, etc., etc., to bring the cost down, yeah, it’s still tough to have to come up with that extra money. So our feeling was, at the very least we do not raise the fares. We reduced actually some fares. The day pass, day pass is going to be a buck less than what it is now. And the day pass is a good deal if you’re going to be taking a lot of rides during the day. And many of our passengers do have to transfer. We’ve also now, going to introduce a free transfer again.
LIEBERMAN: Yeah, that’s such a great move for the agency.
RATTO: Definitely. And I was sad when it went away. But now it’s back, and I think that is very beneficial to our ridership. But if you’re taking two buses to get to work and two buses to get home, with the day pass it’s going to cost you $4.50. So it’s a good deal. It’s a good deal all the way around.
EISENHART: And then we’re also eliminating the surcharge to get out of San Francisco, correct?
RATTO: Yes, yeah. Now, currently, if you ride into San Francisco on SamTrans you pay $2.25, regular fare. But if you go out, it’s four bucks. You pay a premium to get out of the City. So we’re eliminating that. And that will make it easier for the drivers, because oftentimes first-time riders don’t necessarily know they’re going to be charged more. Believe it or not, we do get a lot of folks from out of town riding the 292 because it serves the Airport. And the 398, which serves the Airport. And so folks go into town, and now they’re coming out and the driver says no, no, you need to give us more money to get out. So this will make it a lot simpler, easier to administer, take some pressure off the drivers, and just makes it a little more seamless and simple.
EISENHART: I always find it so fascinating, as someone who does travel to and from San Francisco Airport fairly frequently, how cheap it can be to take SamTrans compared to other alternatives. I mean, even when comparing to Caltrain, but also BART or so many others. It’s not always necessarily as quick, depending on how traffic is, but when I did it the first time I was like, oh my God. How is this not, how do more people not do this? It’s so cheap.
RATTO: The 398 is this like secret weapon that no one knows about. And no one believes me when I say yeah, it’ll get you from Redwood City to the Airport in 25 minutes, like for $2.25. And people look at me like I’m nuts. But it’s absolutely true. Like if you drive and park, it’ll take longer. You should just take the bus like a smart person.
EISENHART: Especially on the early morning flights I find, when there’s not any traffic and trains aren’t even running at that time.
RATTO: The service to the Airport actually is a, yes, it sometimes flies under the radar, but not to tout it too much, but I mean I could get on the old 292 bus, as an example, and get off and make it from, I mean I have made it from my house in San Mateo to security in 20 minutes.
EISENHART: It was a 6 a.m. flight?
RATTO: It was an early flight, and our bus stopped for the terminal where Delta Airlines is, I mean it’s right there. You just get off the bus, boom, up the escalator and you’re there. But still. I couldn’t have done that in my car.
EISENHART: So how do some of the new services that we’ve introduced, like OnDemand and express bus, what role do those new services play in the fare change decisions that are being made?
RATTO: Well, we want to encourage as many riders as possible. The idea with OnDemand is to offer or provide service in areas where typically you don’t have a lot of transit options available. And with OnDemand, which costs no more than riding a regular bus, you have this app and it is a bus that is dynamically scheduled, which means it’s almost like using a TNC. And you can even, with the app that we have, you can actually look at your device and track your bus. Granted, this is a much smaller bus than you would have on one of our main line routes, but you can track it, you can see it. It’s a very convenient service. It also, the buses used in OnDemand are ADA accessible. So, for instance, if you’re an ADA rider and you had to go somewhere in your neighborhood, you would have to call a day in advance. Or if you were a rider of the old flex service, you would have to, again, call a day in advance. But with the new OnDemand, it is on-demand. If you decide that you want to go shopping, you, boom, summon the bus and it will come out and get you. And so we’re very excited about this service. It’s called micro-transit. That’s another term people like to use, but we’re very excited. Maybe the first evaluation of OnDemand will come in around October, November, and get an on what the ridership is and how well it’s doing. But needless to say, we’re very excited.
LIEBERMAN: Yeah. So far the early reports seem to be very positive. It looks like you’ve been able to capture the audience on the previously existing flex route, which has been replaced by OnDemand.
LIEBERMAN: And it’s been growing ever since. I think something else important, in talking about folks in need of ADA accessible vehicles, there isn’t really a private sector alternative there. Like ultimately, so being able to have something that can serve that community, again, for $2.25 a ride, you can’t beat that deal anywhere.
RATTO: Yeah. You’re going to spend more if you use a TNC, and also you may not get a vehicle that is going to be accessible for you. And in this case, if you really do need to use the full blown Redi-Wheels you can, but if you’re in a mobility device, wheelchair, etc., you can ride the OnDemand vehicles and you can get it same day.
EISENHART: And for folks who don’t know, TNC stands for?
RATTO: A Transportation Network Company, such as Uber Lyft. A TNC was the now failed Chariot, which was in a way kind of like micro-transit. But TNC is more or less on-demand service. And typically they are operated by private companies.
EISENHART: I wanted to ask, not just specifically on OnDemand, but this is first time we’re doing it. It’s a pilot. What are your thoughts on this as a potential shift for the agency to move away from more traditional fixed route service into other mobility solutions that can really meet the transportation needs of an ever-changing Peninsula?
RATTO: Yeah. I mean, this is like the start. And we’re not going to stop here, so to speak. We are going to be, we’ve actually just started the comprehensive operational analysis, which will look at every SamTrans route, every SamTrans service, and this of course will hopefully lead to a better system that will have a lot of new features. Micro-transit is just one. We have an on-demand taxi voucher program coming up. We’re looking at any way we can to attract people back to using our service. And as I’ve always said, the solution to transportation isn’t always a 40-foot bus. You got to look at other things to get people back and that work. So we’re going to look at everything. We’re going to look at every single route. And the last comprehensive overhaul that we did was sort of done with the mindset that, well, we want to expand service and we want to do more but we don’t want to spend any more money. So we were in this trade-off situation where you add one new service but, well, this service isn’t doing very well, let’s eliminate that. Now we’re actually in a situation where we can add new services.
EISENHART: So we can have an actual comprehensive operational analysis. Which we’ll talk about after the break.
EISENHART: Football season is upon us, which to many people means something.
LIEBERMAN: You can’t hide your contempt for sports for even a minute, can you?
EISENHART: As a spokesperson for a public agency, I can neither confirm nor deny that statement. But I can encourage you to take public transportation to see the 49ers at Levi Stadium as they do the thing so they can get the points.
LIEBERMAN: Take Caltrain down to Mountain View, where you can transfer to VTA light rail for service to the stadium. Visit Caltrain.com/49ers for special service information.
EISENHART: And don’t forget to download the Caltrain mobile app so you can purchase train fare on your phone without having to wait in line at a ticket machine. You’re welcome.
EISENHART: And we’re back to Wheel Talk. So let’s dive right into the comprehensive operational analysis, which SamTrans is lovingly calling Reimagined SamTrans.
RATTO: Not me. I like the wonkiest term possible. Comprehensive operational analysis. Listen to that just roll off the tongue.
EISENHART: Or COA for short. So what is it, exactly?
RATTO: Well, it is indeed exactly a comprehensive operational analysis. I mean, we will look at every service that we provide. We will look at every route. We will look at the span of service. I mean, we’ll tear the whole place down, or tear into the whole place, not tear it down, but to look at everything, really. You know, we know. We know what our passengers are asking for and have mentioned, and now we’ll have the ability to actually do that. I, oftentimes people tell me, you know, I would ride the bus and you have a bus that would take me to work, but you don’t have a bus that will take me home. The bus stops running at 6:00. And we have a lot of routes that are like that. And definitely, that’s something to look at, just running a little bit later, starting a little bit earlier. Fairly simple things, but it’s certainly something that can attract riders. And to make sure that we’re going where people want us to go.
A lot of our routes are holdovers from going back to, let’s say 2009, when we actually had to reduce service because of the financial constraints we were under. And so a lot of routes got combined and a lot of routes became very circuitous. So you’re taking a tour instead of going direct, and that’s because we need this one route to sort of serve every neighborhood. And now, we can look at that and maybe cut some routes in half, do all sorts of stuff that can get people to their destination faster. Because whenever any system does that, they gain ridership. And that’s even, in today’s world they gain ridership. So we know that by streamlining the services and providing services that people can use, certainly we think we can increase ridership that way. And that’s one of our ultimate goals, to get more people out of their cars and get them onto the bus or onto whatever we decide to replace the bus with.
LIEBERMAN: And certainly when you consider just how fast the Peninsula is evolving and changing, it really just shows how necessary it is to do this sort of work on a regular basis. Recently we were, the grand jury in their report did mention that the Caltrain connection routes were not working as well as they could and could be synced up more carefully with the schedules. Is the COA going to give us a way forward on that?
RATTO: I think the COA will allow us to do that. And that may also end up, again, changing routes and tweaking the services to give better connections. I always say if you’re looking to make a connection to Caltrain, maybe the best thing to do is use the SamTrans app that will give you the trip planning ability that can do that. I mean, I find that’s a very effective way to make transition, even between systems. You know, if you’re going to San Francisco, the SamTrans app will tell you which bus to take to get you to Caltrain or to BART. It’ll take you all the way and it will be a very reliable way to do that. But yes, we do know that there are things that we can do. As an example, I tell people sometimes with public transportation, you got to be a little counterintuitive. You know, sometimes you have to travel south to go north. Well, that’s ridiculous. Well no, it’s not ridiculous if you get a lower overall travel time by doing that. And that’s actually one of the things I used to do. I would leave my home, I would go to Hillsdale Station, where I could catch a bullet train. And my overall time was like less than 40 minutes, and I don’t think you could drive it in 40 minutes today.
EISENHART: No, not close.
LIEBERMAN: Maybe at 3 in the morning.
RATTO: Yeah, 3 in the morning you could do it.
EISENHART: Now what impact or influence did Measure W’s passage have on the COA, maybe more specifically its scope?
RATTO: Well, it would allow us, let’s take it compared to our last, the SSP, which we did back in 2013 going back to 2009, when again, the motivation…
EISENHART: And SSP is?
RATTO: Oh, the System Service Plan. So in order to, another name for a COA.
EISENHART: Just a world of acronyms, I love it.
RATTO: Not so COA actually. But in any case, this will allow us to explore the new types of services that we need to do, and not be so concerned. And the other thing is, when you’ve got a little bit of a cushion, and one of the things I always say, you start a new service, you got to give it at least a year, at least a year, to really see how well everything will shake out. So you can’t be, you know, wow, we just rolled out this new service. As an example, when we rolled out UCR Rapid, at first the ridership was somewhat low, and we decided to add eight more stops. And now the ridership is better. So if we decided after that first evaluation to say well no, we’re not going to add any stops, we’re just going to get rid of this service, it’s not working, that’s a disservice to our riders. So we need to give the new services a chance. And hopefully they will work out. Hopefully we will attract riders.
EISENHART: So attracting riders of course, increasing ridership and meeting the mobility needs of everyone on the Peninsula is certainly a key goal of Reimagine SamTrans. Are there other things that we’re hoping to learn or improve in any way, whether it’s internally or just kind of how we function overall?
RATTO: Well, I think that we will look at as many of the operational aspects that we can, and while we’re not specifically saying well, we’re going to look for maintenance savings or dig into that type of stuff, well actually, if that does result in part of our analysis, that’s certainly something that we will employ. So we’re not looking at the real sort of nitty gritty away from our services, but if we have some collateral impact, certainly we will take advantage of that.
EISENHART: And aside from the COA itself, there’s a lot of change that is inevitably going to happen, just because of, as you mentioned, how quickly the community is changing here, how many more new jobs and housing are being built in the area. Regardless of the challenges, there’s a lot of exciting change that’s happening. What are you most excited about for the future of SamTrans?
RATTO: Well, it’s actually for the future of public transportation. Because I think that there are things that are out there that will allow SamTrans to make a greater impact on what is being done here in San Mateo County, and for those folks that have to travel out of the county as well. You know, we’re looking at, as you know, the express service. That’s a big, big thing. And we’re going to have a few things to speed it up. We’re going to have carpool lanes, or actually they’re technically not carpool lanes, but an exclusive lane for carpools, buses, and even where you can, if you choose to pay, a toll lane that will get you hopefully through a lot of this traffic on 101 and get you where you need to go faster.
But it’s exciting for us because, you know, we had a very robust express bus network up until about 2009. And again, financial issues forced us to suspend almost all of our express service. But there were routes out there that actually had what I would consider pretty decent patronage, and we’re going to really resume one shortly and that’s the express service to Foster City, which was one that I always thought we should not have cut. But you know, we were under the gun so it went. But now it’s coming back. And we’re hoping that it’s going to have a lot of other features. It’s going to be bidirectional, because on the Peninsula, commute service doesn’t just go one way. Now maybe it did in the 60’s, where everyone lived on the Peninsula and rode to San Francisco. Now it doesn’t work that way. There are people coming from San Francisco that work in San Mateo County. There are people that still do live in San Mateo County working in San Francisco or working in San José. And I mean, you see that on Caltrain. Caltrain’s commute is not directional anymore. It is both directions. Both morning and evening, the amount of service going in each direction is pretty much the same, and the ridership is quite high. So you can see that the travel pattern has changed, and that’s something that we’re going to look at.
So the new, new Foster City express service will actually be a bidirectional service to accommodate the folks that, you know, live in the City but work here in the Foster City area. So I think this is one of the exciting things that we are doing. We’re bringing the service to places that need it and that previously we didn’t have it. We’re looking at express buses that will be like the Google buses, you know, that’ll be these Wi-Fi, fancy, you know, pull down trays and plugs and all this great stuff, because we know that that type of rider, and especially if you’re riding a long distance, needs that type of vehicle.
LIEBERMAN: Thanks a lot for coming, Director Ratto. This was really great.
RATTO: Well, I am very excited to participate in this podcast. It’s a historic event, it’s a historic event, and of course any time, since I just love to talk about SamTrans and transportation in general, you can call me back any time.
EISENHART: Great. I look forward to having you on Wheel Talk again.
RATTO: Thanks guys. Good job. Thank you.
EISENHART: That’s it for this month. Thanks so much for listening, and special thanks to Director Ratto for speaking with us today about Measure W and all the exciting changes that are happening as a result of it.
LIEBERMAN: Join us again next month on Wheel Talk.
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