Elk Grove City Council Hears Possible Commuter Route Changes; Tough Decisions Lie Ahead

February 26, 2015 | The five members of the Elk Grove City Council dipped their toes into a matter last night that will require some ...

February 26, 2015 |

The five members of the Elk Grove City Council dipped their toes into a matter last night that will require some tough decisions in the coming months. The matter involves a vital, yet often under-appreciated and un-glamorous service vital to many Elk Grove residents - bus and transit services.

At last night's meeting, the city council heard a presentation for the city's transit manager Jean Foletta outlining possible changes to several commuter routes. The changes are being explored because of the anticipated September, 2015 completion of Regional Transit's Blue Line Light Rail to Cosumnes River College.

The specific changes included the elimination of several commuter routes between Elk Grove and downtown Sacramento. In their place, these routes would terminate at the CRC and feed commuters to the Blue Line.

Foletta said feeding Elk Grove commuters to the Blue Line is important to demonstrate that demand exist for light rail services. One of the city's long-term plans is to extend either light rail or rapid bus transit to the city's so-called South East Policy Area.

Following the presentation, City Council Member Steve Detrick asked Foletta about costs and ridership. Foletta said there are about 1,000 unique riders purchasing monthly passes, and the annual costs of the commuter routes are about $4 million.

Doing some rough calculations aloud and questioning Foletta, Detrick confirmed that the monthly cost per rider for the commuter routes was about $340, but the city only charged $100 for a monthly pass.

"So we are subsidizing roughly $240 per month," he said.

"Transit is not making money," Foletta replied.

Council member Darren Suen noted if the commuter route changes happen, it will affect many residents. "This is going to affect people's life significantly," he said.

Mayor Gary Davis said if the routes were significantly altered it would be a major change for commuters. He went on to say he was concerned current riders may abandon mass transit.  

"It is going to fundamentally change peoples' commuting habits," Davis said. "And I have to think it is going to make it longer and more complicated."  

During public comment, Elk Grove resident Darren Keenan said if the commuter routes take riders to stations for transfers to the Blue Line, commute times could increase.

"It looks to me that it would take me 90 minutes to get to work," Keenan said. "If that's what happens, I'd be back in the car, straight up."

When the council deliberated following public comment, the same concerns about costs and convenience factors for riders were again expressed. Before any changes are made, the council promised extensive public outreach on the matter.

"I want it to be public outreach to get input," Vice Mayor Pat Hume noted. "Not public outreach to provide information." 








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5 comments

Warren Buffett said...

Cut service then bring it back once voters approve some proposed sales tax increases in 2016. Watch your wallets!

Connie said...

I watched the meeting and it appears that the city of Elk Grove's Transit Manager Jean Foletta had a tough time answering the Council's questions. We had serious issues with our last two transit managers; one leaving in a big hurry with two million dollars of unpaid bills hidden in his desk.

The fact remains transit service loses money for every city. Elk Grove is no different. So to try and cut services to be revenue neutral is not going to happen.

Trying to retrench e-Tran to become profitable is a fool's errand!

Kevin RS said...

Time to buy a motor cycle I guess. I'm not going back to the 'joys' of LightRail

Anonymous said...

Time to give it all back to RT....

Anonymous said...

Buses are boring, bring me my soccer stadium!!!!!!!

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