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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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BART's airport connectors continue to under-perform

Uploaded: Dec 20, 2016
BART has spent extravagantly to connect its lines to both San Francisco International and Oakland International Airports.
In my role as an editorial writer, I strongly supported the San Francisco extension, believing it would enhance both ridership and service. Wrong.
That line has consistently under-performed and I now do all I can to avoid it when I am flying out of SFO. Since the direct line from Pleasanton-Dublin has been shelved, it’s now a 2-hour trip from the valley to the airport that requires a transfer. The original direction routing delivered passengers in about 90 minutes. Even at peak commute times, a comfortable ride in a car beats the two-hour ride.
The automated car connector from the Coliseum BART station to the Oakland Airport is a classic example of spending federal dollars to solve a non-problem. BART already had regular bus transfers to and from the airport that worked just fine. Nonetheless, the Bay Area Democratic congressional delegation pushed through the $500 million connector as part of the soon-to-be-former President Barrack Obama’s stimulus package.
Unlike many of the projects in that package—which was mostly a giveaway to public employee unions through grants to cities and counties—it was shovel-ready (compare it to the state’s high-speed rail that has a few concrete overpasses under construction way down in the San Joaquin Valley). To cover the operating costs, the short ride costs $6 each way.
For a couple flying out from here, that $24 round-trip plus the normal BART fares makes the convenience of the off-site airport parking lots look reasonable, particularly on weekend trips.
The other ridership factor that BART is struggling to cope with is the ride-sharing apps from Uber and Lyft. In just two years, the SFO riders have skyrocketed from about 96,000 to 578,000, according to a report in the San Francisco Business Times. The government planners correctly can claim they did not see that coming.
What they should have seen coming in how SFO ridership has under-performed since the start and ratcheted back the Oakland numbers accordingly.
Congrats to the Pleasanton Weekly editorial team for an excellent selection as their Man of the Year—retired Army Major Doug Miller. Well deserved
Doug led the successful campaign to raise private money to fund the new Veteran’s Memorial in the city’s Pioneer Cemetery. To see a group commit to raising $300K and then get it done, within the time frame, is a shining example of living up to their word.
Incidentally, Pleasanton sure is blessed by Nancy and Gary Harrington, who put up the first $40,000 as a matching fund to get the campaign going. The Harrington’s have been quite generous with their donations to support public arts.

Comments

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Amit R, a resident of Stoneridge,
on Dec 20, 2016 at 6:01 pm

Hi Tim,

Appreciate your viewpoint. I also am opposed the OAK connector. $500 MM is too much. That money could have gone to new hybrid busses, road improvements, more bus driver jobs, etc. for Oakland.

The SFO connector is no-go too. We use a shuttle service to get to SFO. It's cheaper per person.

I'd appreciate it though if you wouldn't single out Democrats "...Area Democratic congressional delegation." This is a systemic problem, not partisan, and is happens across the country.

Amit


 +  Like this comment
Posted by larryplab, a resident of Avila,
on Dec 24, 2016 at 9:38 am

larryplab is a registered user.

I admit. I have not been on this web page in a long time... however it was another joy to see It is such an important topic and ignored by so many. even professionals. professionals. I thank you to help making people more aware of possible issues.


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