Santa Rosa boosted bus fares and cut back service levels Tuesday in what officials called an unfortunate but necessary response to a $1 million budget gap. The City Council unanimously agreed to a plan that raises the cash price of a bus fare from $1.25 to $1.50 Feb. 1, reduces the frequency of service mostly on lesser–used suburban routes, and tightens policies to crack down on transfer abuse.
Santa Rosa is set to roll out seven sleek new hybrid buses that promise to be quieter, easier to maintain and more fuel efficient than those on the road today. The new buses are funded through a combination of Measure M revenue, the quarter-cent sales tax county voters passed in 2004 for transportation, state bond money and federal transit and stimulus dollars.
The Petaluma City Council has awarded an unusual dual-provider contract for the city’s bus and paratransit services, thus preserving a relationship that began nearly three decades ago. The contract will save the city about $700,000 over the next seven years, which is about half the savings predicted had the city dumped the Petaluma People Services Center in favor of a single-server contract with MV Transportation of Fairfield.
Santa Rosa Junior College has put its subsidized bus passes on the chopping block. The college is close to ending a program that allows students to pay $16 for a monthly city bus pass that normally costs $40 and to pay $22.50 for a county pass that otherwise costs $45.
The possibility of saving $200,000 annually is enticing to Petaluma City Council members. But it will mean cutting ties with a nonprofit group that has worked with the city for three decades to provide transportation services for its most vulnerable residents. The council postponed a decision on awarding a seven-year contract for the city’s bus and paratransit services.
UPDATE 7 AM: Measure W, a measure that would add $10 to vehicle registration fees in Sonoma County, was defeated by voters. The measure, which needed a simple majority to pass, was supported by only 42 percent of the voters with all precincts reporting.
Measure W would increase the vehicle license fee by $10 in Sonoma County. Supporters say it would provide much-needed money to fill pot holes, build bicycle and pedestrian safety projects and support local bus service. Opponents say it would impose a permanent tax to deal with a temporary revenue problem. Check out the arguments on both sides. What do you think?
The Press Democrat Editorial Board opposed Measure W, which would impose a $10 vehicle license fee to fill potholes, build more bicycle and pedestrian safety projects, create a countywide Safe Routes to School program and improve local bus service in Sonoma County. Did the PD Editorial Board make the right pick? Disagree with the choice? Discuss the endorsement here.
The proposed hike in vehicle registration fees for Sonoma County residents is intended to make up for cuts in state funding. The transit board approved the ballot measure on a divided vote.