Wheels Makes Commuting Simpler by Integrating with Transit App

Wheels announced that Wheels is now available on Transit App, a popular phone app that makes commuting easy. Transit App, now available for download on the App Store and Google Play, allows commuters to plan their trip on demand and get real-time departure and arrival times for public transportation. With the Transit App, you can set reminders, view your transportation options, get notifications, or request an Uber to pick you up. There is even a button to reserve a bike at the nearest bike share.

According to Michael Tree, Executive Director of LAVTA, “I’m excited that the Wheels bus system was introduced on the popular Transit phone app. Transit App shows users the best scenario that saves time on their commute, for example, if you need to get to BART the Transit App picks the appropriate Wheels route that drops you off right at BART’s entry. Your commute in the Bay Area should be simpler and with the Transit App that’s certainly the case”.

Upon opening the app, users are instantly shown the nearest Wheels routes without even pushing a button. Bus arrival times on Transit are shown in big, bold, beautiful colors and text allowing commuters to get real-time transit information in a fun and appealing user-friendly way. Wheels continues their efforts to instill public transportation initiatives that fit seamlessly with on-the-go commuters.

Wheels and ACE Rail Partner with Las Positas College to Offer Students Unbeatable Savings

Wheels is excited to announce a new partnership with ACE rail and Las Positas College (LPC) to make access to the college quick and easy for students. The partnership includes a free Easy Pass for students valid on all Wheels bus routes – including the new Rapid route serving the college every 15 minutes throughout the day and linking students to BART and ACE rail. To complement the Easy Pass, ACE rail service is offering a 50% discount on monthly and 20-ride fare for LPC students. The convenient Easy Pass and ACE rail discount will run August 13, 2016 through the summer of 2017.

“The partnership is a game changer for the college,” said LPC President Barry Russell. “Nearly 9,000 students will have improved travel options and the college community will benefit from less traffic congestion and parking problems.”

Once students are on board the Rapid, they simply show the bus operator their valid LPC student ID, which functions as the Easy Pass and they can enjoy direct and easy bus service to the college free of charge. Wheels has improved service to the college with a Rapid bus arriving every 15 minutes throughout the day and has extended their evening service to accommodate a variety of class schedules. Students using the Rapid will enjoy hybrid-electric buses with bike racks, upgraded seating, and near future Wi-Fi. The bus stops at the campus will feature a modern, glass design with solar lighting and real-time next bus arrival notifications. Finally, Wheels will be introducing a convenient phone app early in the fall.

“Why drive to Las Positas College?” asks Steven Spedowfski, Chair of the Wheels Board of Directors. “With a great looking Rapid bus coming every 15 minutes on campus the connection with BART and ACE trains is quick and convenient – I don’t have the parking hassles and expenses. In fact, my options expand as to what I can get accomplished during my commute.”

ACE rail serves stops in Stockton, Lathrop/Manteca, and Tracy before stopping at the downtown Livermore Transit Center Train. Amenities include accommodations for bicycles, restrooms, and dim-lit cars for quiet and relaxation.

“With one-third of Las Positas students commuting from San Joaquin County, this is a partnership that makes a lot of sense. Imagine saving over $72 on a monthly pass from Tracy to LPC. This is a tremendous partnership that helps students who are often financially struggling as they manage their studies.” stated ACE Chair, Bob Johnson.

For more information visit these other helpful links:

www.acerail.com

www.laspositascollege.edu

Wheels Bus Service Rolls Out More Direct and Frequent Routes Effective August 13, 2016

Beginning August 13, 2016, Wheels bus system will launch enhanced routes that include improved access to BART, ACE rail stations, Las Positas College, and other key destinations in the Tri-Valley.

Highest priority in the new service change is improved access to the East Dublin/Pleasanton BART station. Ten of the new and modified routes will connect directly to BART, including two routes that will arrive at bus stops every 15 minutes all day on weekdays to connect with every BART train departure. This provides an alternative for BART riders looking to avoid the hassle of trying to find a parking spot. As a result, over 18,000 Tri-Valley households, and over 32,500 jobs, will be within a short walking distance to premium bus service where brand new buses arrive every 15 minutes and offer upgraded seating, bike rack accommodations for three bikes, and near-future free Wi-Fi service.

Additionally, Las Positas College students and faculty can take advantage of premium bus service connecting directly to BART and ACE rail from the college. This service will alleviate common commuting hassles such as getting stuck in traffic and spending time finding parking in congested lots.

The following is a description of the new bus service taking effect August 13:

Route 1 – Route will operated direct to/from BART to the Santa Rita Jail. Service on Central Parkway and Rosewood is eliminated.

Route 2 – Route will continue to operate. A 3:20pm short trip is eliminated (new Route 505 will provide service to Fallon Middle School).

Route 3 – Route is eliminated in Dublin and is realigned in Pleasanton for a direct connection between the East Dublin/Pleasanton BART Station and Stoneridge Mall.

Route 8 – Route is realigned to operate from BART to south Pleasanton via Hopyard. Route will no longer operate on Santa Rita Road (service will be provided by Route 10). Service on Case Avenue and along Koll Center Parkway is eliminated.

Route 9 – Route is eliminated.

Route 10R – Service levels will increase to every 15 minutes during the day on weekdays. Route will no longer operate to the Stoneridge Mall and will terminate at BART. Route will no longer operate on East Avenue and will terminate at the Livermore Transit Center. For service on East Ave, please see Route 30R.

Route 11 – Route is realigned to connect to the Vasco Road ACE Station.

Route 12/12X – Route is eliminated.

Route 14 – Route is realigned to provide service from central Livermore to the San Francisco Premium Outlets, Stoneridge Creek retirement facility, and Stoneridge Drive to BART. Service on Pine Street and Chestnut Street is eliminated. Route will operate 7 days a week.

Route 15 – Service will operate every 30-minutes all day on weekdays. Service on Enos and Portola Ave is eliminated.

Route 20X – Two trips in the morning and two trips in the evening on weekdays will be provided as express service to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Service on Greenville Road and Las Positas is eliminated.

Route 30R (formerly, Rapid) – Route is realigned to serve Las Positas College, replacing the local route 12 service. Route will terminate at the West Dublin Pleasanton BART Station and no longer directly serve the Stoneridge Mall. Route will run until midnight, 7 days a week. Select local stops on East Avenue and Dublin Blvd will be added.

Route 51 – Route is eliminated. Service to the Livermore Civic Center and Library will be provided by Route 14.

Route 70X – Route 70XV trips are eliminated.

Route 401, 402 and 403 – Routes are eliminated.

New Route 580X – Service will operate from the Livermore Transit Center to BART via the 1-580 Express lanes during peak times on weekdays.

Dublin School Routes (501, 502, 504) – Routes have been adjusted to manage ridership demand and meet new school bell times. Route 503 will not change.

New Route 505 – Route will provide service to Fallon Middle School

Routes 601-611 – No changes

Wheels Receives Funding Towards the Purchase of Two Hybrid Replacement Buses

Wheels bus system received notification from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) that it has been approved for funding towards the purchase of two hybrid replacement buses.

The agency received $253,365 as part of the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP). This program was established in the Transit, Affordable Housing, and Sustainable communities Program by Senate Bill 862 in 2014. The LCTOP draws funds from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to implement projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support transit agencies in their efforts to increase transit ridership and achieve set regional greenhouse reduction goals.

The new buses will be used on LAVTA’s commuter route 70X which connects the Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek, and Dublin/Pleasanton BART stations. Currently, the agency has 20 hybrid buses and plans to transition to running electric buses in the future.

Tri-Valley Overhauls Bus System to Provide Better, More Frequent Service

Transportation Network Companies and Autonomous Shuttles to Play Roles

The Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA) approved major changes to the Wheels public transit system, providing more frequent buses and new routes in Livermore, Dublin, and Pleasanton. The agency also introduced two innovations: they are partnering with transportation network companies (TNCs), such as Uber and Lyft, to reach commuters in neighborhoods big buses cannot serve and exploring driverless shuttles to solve first and last mile issues to connect people to stations.

“These changes feature a dramatic new way of thinking about mass transit,” says Wheels Board Chair Don Biddle. “With these improvements, an additional 6,000 households and 5,000 employees will be within an easy 5-minute walk of high-quality, frequent bus service, while areas that cannot support big buses will be served with innovative partnerships and ultimately driverless shuttles. These changes will be a significant catalyst for residents to explore their transportation options.”

To create an easier-to-use, more productive transit system, LAVTA embarked on a yearlong planning effort with the Tri-Valley communities. Called Wheels Forward, the planning effort was led by Nelson\Nygaard, an international transportation planning firm. By focusing on making it easier and more convenient for riders, the team restructured Wheels bus service to provide more direct routes to key destinations with buses arriving more often. A major improvement is the addition of the agency’s second route with 15-minute all-day bus frequency that will receive signal priority at intersections for quicker service. For more information, visit www.wheelsforward.com

According to Wheels Executive Director Michael Tree, the bus route improvements were designed without an increase to the agency’s budget, which meant trade-offs had to be made, including the elimination of bus service in areas that could not support fixed-route service. In all, almost every route had changes and six bus routes were eliminated in the system redesign.

Other Wheels improvements approved for fiscal year 2017 include the addition of Wi-Fi to Rapid and express buses, the implementation of individualized marketing in target areas of the transit system, the development of a new phone app and website to include integration with TNCs, and a rebranding of Wheels services.

Demonstration Projects

To serve lower-density suburban neighborhoods, LAVTA will test ridesharing service. Customers will receive a discounted rate when they take advantage of Uber, Lyft, or a taxi participating with the transit agency within the project areas.

“The City of Dublin is excited about the participation of TNCs in our transit system,” says Dublin Mayor David Haubert. “Real time, dynamic ridesharing in more suburban communities of the Bay Area is an increasingly popular and efficient transportation option that can reduce congestion.”

The LAVTA Board also approved and directed staff to seek partners and funding for a near future  demonstration project in the City of Dublin, which would continue to advance the agency’s focus on improving first and last mile solutions to access public transit.

“Electric, driverless shuttles are being tested throughout the world as viable short-trip solutions to connect people to mass transit. With high density residential and business centers near the two BART stations in Dublin, the envisioned demonstration project will cover areas where conventional means of transportation simply aren’t viable, especially given the limited parking,” commented Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty.”

 

Livermore Valley Transit Authority provides equal access to a variety of safe, affordable and reliable public transportation choices, increasing the mobility and improving the quality of life of those who live or work in and visit the Tri-Valley area. Operated by the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA), Wheels plays a vital role in providing transportation and mobility options for those who do not drive, either by choice or necessity. Wheels connects people to work, school, medical appointments, and to recreational opportunities. www.wheelsbus.com

Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates, Inc. is an internationally recognized firm committed to developing transportation systems that promote vibrant, sustainable, and accessible communities. Nelson\Nygaard recognizes that transportation is not an end by itself but a platform for achieving broader community goals of mobility, equity, economic development, and healthy living. Founded by two women in 1987, Nelson\Nygaard has grown from its roots in transit planning to a full-service, award-winning transportation firm with offices across the United States. www.nelsonnygaard.com

 

Wheels Elects New Board Chair and Vice Chair for Fiscal Year 2017

The Board of Directors of the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA), operator of Wheels bus service, has elected Steven Spedowfski Board Chair and Karla Brown Vice Chair for its Fiscal Year 2017 beginning July 1st.

Mr. Spedowfski served as Vice Chair on LAVTA’s Board of Directors in Fiscal Year 2016. He was elected to the Livermore City Council in November of 2014. Prior to serving on the City Council, Steven was active in the Livermore community, serving on the Beautification Committee and on the Planning Commission. He has also completed Livermore’s Citizens Police Academy.

Ms. Brown was elected to a four-year term to serve on the Pleasanton City Council in November, 2012. Ms. Brown currently serves on multiple city and regional subcommittees including: the Pleasanton Audit Committee, Civic Center/Library Facilities Committee, Fair Liaison Committee, Livermore Liaison Committee, Waste & Recycling Committee, the East Bay Regional Park District Liaison Committee, Zone 7 Water Liaison Committee, and is a member of the Library/Civic Center task force in Pleasanton.

Wheels Dedicates New “Space Age” Bus Shelter Mural in Livermore

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Wheels dedicated a new Art Shelter Mural located on Vasco Road in Livermore Thursday, June 2nd.

The newest shelter is the seventeenth shelter in Wheels Art Shelter Mural Project and is titled “Wheels – Ticket to Paradise”. The mural was created by Granada High School art students under the supervision of Ms. Laura Thournir.

Livermore Mayor John Marchand and LAVTA Board Member Laureen Turner officiated the event and gave certificates of appreciation to the students who were responsible for the design. The students responsible include: Emilie Johal, Mary Carmona, Kemi Awosanya, Cameron Sanchez, Bailey Ye and Jodi Bryant.

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“Wheels – Ticket to Paradise” Bus Shelter

Wheels is a convenient way to travel throughout the Tri-Valley and an excellent way to build a cleaner, healthier and less congested community. For more information on services provided by Wheels, visit www.wheelsbus.com.

Wheels Adds Bus Service to the Alameda County Fair and Offers a Buy One, Get One Free Admission Ticket

Fairgoers are gearing up for their annual time enjoying carnival rides, festive games and fair food– it’s time for the Alameda County Fair! Start your trip by taking Wheels Route 8 to the Fair from June 15 – July 4, 2016.

Wheels is adding service on its Route 8 to/from the East Dublin/Pleasanton BART station to the Alameda County Fairgrounds. Late night service is also being extended on Route 8 to accommodate passengers attending nightly concerts and the Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular show. Route 8 picks up and drops on Pleasanton Ave, across from the entrance to the Fairgrounds, adjacent to the Pleasanton ACE station. Schedule and route information will be posted online at www.wheelsbus.com and at the BART and Fairgrounds bus stops.

Not only do those who take Wheels enjoy a stress-free ride, each passenger riding Route 8 will receive a 2-for-1 Fair admission voucher! Just ask your Route 8 operator for your voucher when deboarding at the Fairgrounds bus stop.

While you are at the Fair, don’t miss the showcase of the historic Rideo bus! This 1966 General Motors Coach bus was originally operated as part of the City of Livermore’s Rideo bus system. Wheels acquired the historic Rideo bus from the City of Livermore in the late 1980s. Since then, Alameda County Supervisor and Wheels Board Member, Scott Haggerty, played a major role in the rehabilitation of the Rideo bus, securing state and federal funding in 2011 to restore this piece of Livermore history to its former glory. The Rideo bus will be on display next to the grandstands at the fair. In addition, you can get free giveaways and transit information at the Wheels booth on June 16, 23, and 30, next to the Rideo bus.

PLAN YOUR RIDE EARLY: For trip planning assistance and extended schedule information, call Wheels Customer Service at (925) 455-7500 or visit us online at www.wheelsbus.com. For Fair hours and event information, visit www.alamedacountyfair.com.
Wheels cash fares to the Fair are:
• Adult/Youth $2.00
• Senior (age 65 and over) $1.00, with valid ID
• Disabled $1.00, with a valid RTC Discount Card
• Children under six Free with a paying adult

Wheels to Dedicate new Art Shelter Mural Project in Livermore

Wheels invites all to attend the dedication of its new Art Shelter Mural Project located on east side of Vasco Rd at the Mesquite gate in front of Lawrence Livermore National Labs in Livermore on Thursday, June 2th at 4:00 p.m.

The newest piece entitled “Wheels – Ticket to Paradise” was created by Granada High School art students under the supervision of Ms. Laura Thournir.
Please join Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA) Board members, Stephen Spedowfski and Laureen Turner and Livermore Mayor John Marchand in acknowledging the talents of these students and the contribution they have made to beautify the City of Livermore.

Date: June 2, 2016
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Vasco Rd at the Mesquite gate; in front of the Lawrence Livermore National Labs