Earlier Afternoon Departure Times for PUSD and DUSD School Services Effective April 12, 2021

When Dublin and Pleasanton students return from Spring Break, we will be adjusting our afternoon bus departure times. Beginning Monday April 12, Routes 501-504  and 601-611 will all depart 10 minutes following dismissal time. This change is based on our observations at all school sites and will result in students arriving home sooner.

The new schedules are now available online at https://www.wheelsbus.com/school-routes/ .

As a reminder, the most economical way for students to ride is to obtain a Youth Clipper Card. With the Youth Clipper Card, the fare is $1.60 each way. The Youth Clipper Card can be obtained at clippercard.com or at the downtown Livermore Transit Center. Cash is also accepted, but the cost is $2.00 each way.

If you have questions, feel free to contact our Customer Service Staff at 925.455.7500.

Members and Alternates Sought for Tri-Valley Accessible Advisory Committee

The Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA), operator of Wheels and Rapid bus services and Dial-A-Ride paratransit service in the Tri-Valley, is seeking applications for members and alternates to serve on the Tri-Valley Accessible Advisory Committee (TAAC).  Members on the TAAC represent the cities of Livermore, Dublin, and Pleasanton, unincorporated Alameda County and Tri-Valley social/human services agencies. Vacancies are for the following representatives:

  • City of Dublin – 1 member
  • City of Pleasanton – 2 members

Committee members are expected to provide a forum and advise LAVTA staff on accessibility issues facing senior and disabled residents on LAVTA fixed route buses and Dial-A-Ride paratransit services.  The committee meets six times per year for approximately 90 minutes. TAAC members will receive a free annual LAVTA fixed route bus pass.  In addition, ADA paratransit eligible members can ride Dial-A-Ride service to and from TAAC meetings free of charge.

Candidates must reside in the city they represent and must be able to solicit and disseminate information effectively to their constituents, be able to meet during regular business hours (typically 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.), and be able to analyze complex issues and reports to make recommendations regarding LAVTA services.  Candidates must currently use LAVTA fixed route buses or Dial-A-Ride paratransit services or represent those who do.  Candidates do not have to be disabled or over 65 years old.

Interested candidates should request an application by calling (925) 455-7555 or download an application by clicking here. Applications should be submitted to LAVTA by April 26, 2021. LAVTA’s Board of Directors approves the representatives.

Wheels Offers Free Rides to COVID-19 Vaccination Sites

Beginning Monday March 1, the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA) will provide free rides on existing Wheels, Rapid and Dial-a-Ride services to and from any COVID-19 vaccination site in Livermore, Pleasanton and Dublin, including hospitals, pharmacies, and other immunization locations. This program will remain in effect until further notice.

To receive a free ride, passengers should be ready to show physical or digital confirmation of their same-day vaccine appointment to the bus operator at time of boarding. Dial-a-Ride paratransit riders should indicate that their trips are for the purpose of a COVID-19 vaccination when booking their reservations. Staff will then alert the Dial-a-Ride driver that the rider is not required to pay the fare. This effort is aimed at reducing transportation and cost barriers for Tri-Valley residents eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“As an essential service, LAVTA has continued operations and has provided needed transportation to essential workers and the general public, many of whom have no other reliable form of transportation. Providing free rides to and from vaccination sites will help ensure that all persons have access to be vaccinated in a timely manner.” said Bob Woerner, Chair of the LAVTA Board of Directors.

LAVTA is one of more than 20 Bay Area transit agencies participating in a coordinated effort to keep essential transportation services available to the communities we serve through the Bay Area Healthy Transit Plan. The regional Healthy Transit Plan outlines action items for frequent cleaning, personal protective equipment, face coverings, social distancing, ventilation, and touchless fares in order to keep transit safe for all Bay Area residents and transit employees.

 

 

Wearing Face Masks on Wheels Buses now Federal Law

Effective February 1, 2021, federal law requires that approved face masks must be properly worn by all passengers waiting for or riding on Wheels buses. The bullet points below summarize the requirements of the federal law. The complete Order can be accessed by clicking on the following link:  Order pdf icon[PDF – 11 pages]

The following are attributes of masks needed to fulfill the requirements of the Order. CDC will update this guidance as needed.

  • A properly worn mask completely covers the nose and mouth.
  • Cloth masks should be made with two or more layers of a breathable fabric that is tightly woven (i.e., fabrics that do not let light pass through when held up to a light source).
  • Mask should be secured to the head with ties, ear loops, or elastic bands that go behind the head. If gaiters are worn, they should have two layers of fabric or be folded to make two layers.
  • Mask should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
  • Mask should be a solid piece of material without slits, exhalation valves, or punctures.

The following attributes are additionally acceptable as long as masks meet the requirements above.

  • Masks can be either manufactured or homemade.
  • Masks can be reusable or disposable.
  • Masks can have inner filter pockets.
  • Clear masks or cloth masks with a clear plastic panel may be used to facilitate communication with people who are hearing impaired or others who need to see a speaker’s mouth to understand speech.
  • Medical masks and N-95 respirators fulfill the requirements of the Order.

The following do not fulfill the requirements of the Order.

  • Masks worn in a way that does not cover both the mouth and nose
  • Face shields or goggles (face shields or goggles may be worn to supplement a mask that meets above required attributes)
  • Scarves, ski masks, balaclavas, or bandannas
  • Shirt or sweater collars (e.g., turtleneck collars) pulled up over the mouth and nose.
  • Masks made from loosely woven fabric or that are knitted, i.e., fabrics that let light pass through
  • Masks made from materials that are hard to breathe through (such as vinyl, plastic or leather)
  • Masks containing slits, exhalation valves, or punctures
  • Masks that do not fit properly (large gaps, too loose or too tight)

Additional guidance on the use of masks to slow the spread of COVID-19 is available on CDC’s website.

Low Income Wheels Riders Offered Reduced Fares

Low income riders on the Wheels bus system will become eligible for reduced fares beginning Monday January 25. Wheels is participating in a pilot program administered by the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) called Clipper START. The pilot will continue through the end of the year at a minimum.

Applicants to the pilot program can provide a copy of an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card or Medi-Cal card, a county benefits eligibility letter, their Muni Lifeline card number or a copy of their last federal tax return to demonstrate their eligibility. Once approved, they will receive a personalized Clipper card that must be loaded with cash value before use.

The Clipper START discounts are automatically applied whenever the card is used. On Wheels buses, the discount is 20 percent off of the regular $2.00 one-way fare. Clipper START is not a transit pass — it is a program that offers discounts for single rides on 22 participating Bay Area transit systems.

Riders interested in Clipper START can learn more about the program and apply online at clipperstartcard.com. The website guides customers through the application process, details what documents customers need to upload, and will save applicants’ progress to allow them to return later to complete the application if necessary.

Cards can only be obtained through the Clipper website and are not available at the Livermore Transit Center, the Wheels Administrative Office or at any of the other Tri-Valley retail locations where Clipper Cards are available.

Income guidelines for the program are listed below.

Clipper Start Income Guidelines

Household size Household income up to
1 $25,520
2 $34,480
3 $43,440
4 $52,400
5 $61,360
6 $70,320
7 $79,280
8 $88,240

Add $8,960 for each additional household member over eight.

LAVTA Seeks Public Input on COVID-19 Emergency Service Changes

The Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA) is seeking public input on emergency service changes that were implemented as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Background

When Alameda County’s Shelter in Place Order took effect in mid-March, all schools in the Tri-Valley had already decided to discontinue in-person instruction. As a result, LAVTA’s first emergency service change was to cease operation of services on Routes 601-611 serving schools in the Pleasanton Unified School District and on Routes 501-504 serving schools in the Dublin Unified School District.

Overall ridership on LAVTA services dropped by approximately 90% during the first week of the Shelter in Place Order. As a result, LAVTA staff developed a five level service reduction plan to provide a safety net level of service for essential functions while preserving resources by reducing or eliminating services with extremely low utilization. Click here for a detailed description of the service levels. The following briefly describes the service levels:

  • Level 1 – School services discontinued . Implemented Friday March 13.
  • Level 2 – In addition to Level 1 changes, service on Routes 10R and 30R reduced from every 15 minutes to every 30 minutes. Service on Routes 2, 20X and 580X discontinued because of low ridership and availability of  alternative service. Implemented Monday March 23.
  • Level 3 – In addition to Level 2 changes, Routes 1, 3, 8, 14 and 15 operate on weekend schedules. Routes 11 and 70X discontinued due to low ridership. All service after 11pm discontinued. Implemented Monday April 6 and is the level of service currently operated.
  • Level 4 – In addition to Level 3 changes, Routes 3, 8 and 14 would operate during peak hours only. Has not been used thus far.
  • Level 5 – All service discontinued due to public health mandates or other circumstances beyond our control. Has not been used thus far.

Full details of LAVTA’s response to the pandemic, including the emergency service changes and the public input process are available here.

Public Input Process

Public input on these emergency services changes are being solicited in accordance with the LAVTA Board of Directors’ adopted public input process for changes to fares and service, which was adopted in 2008. One component of that policy requires the solicitation of public input when emergency service changes have been in place for more than 180 days.  Comments received as part of this process will be summarized and provided to the Wheels Board of Directors. Comments may be submitted by email to info@lavta.org or by postal mail to: COVID Service Change Comments, LAVTA, 1362 Rutan Court, Suite 100, Livermore, CA 94551. Comments may also be faxed to (925) 443-1375.

The deadline for submitting input is January 20, 2021 at 5 pm.

Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty Receives Distinguished Service Award from the California Transit Association

The California Transit Association has announced the selection of Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty as the recipient of its 2020 Distinguished Service Award. This award recognizes an individual who has had a long and distinguished career and has made outstanding contributions to public transit.

Haggerty was recognized for his relentless advocacy for transportation matters over the course of six four-year terms on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. The award was presented today at a virtual ceremony held in conjunction with the California Transit Association’s Fall Conference. In accepting the award, Supervisor Haggerty remarked, “As elected officials, we don’t do this work for awards. But when you are acknowledged by such an esteemed body as the California Transit Association, it really solidifies that maybe the work you are doing does matter.”

Among the career achievements which led to Haggerty receiving the award:

-Currently serving as Chair of the Bay Area’s 9-County Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and being the only individual ever to have held this position twice;

-Serving as one of the founding policymakers on the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission, which oversees the operation of the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) commuter rail service connecting California’s Central Valley with Silicon Valley;

-Initiating legislation that resulted in the formation of the Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority, which has advanced the Valley Link rail project – and serving as Chair of this Board since its inception in 2018.

-Serving terms as Chair of the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC), the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA), the Tri-Valley Transportation Council and the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority;

-Leading efforts that have resulted in an estimated $2 billion dollars of transportation improvements in Alameda County’s District 1 – for roads, highways and public transit.

Supervisor Haggerty is now in his 24th year of service as a member of the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA) Board of Directors. For half of those years, he has held the title of Chair or Vice Chair of the Board and has also served as a member of the LAVTA Projects and Services Committee. He was a leading proponent of the high frequency Rapid bus service that LAVTA introduced in 2011 and expanded five years later. In 2016, he secured $1 million in funding so that LAVTA could be one of the first transit agencies in the nation to test autonomous vehicle technology on public streets.

Supervisor Haggerty is retiring when his current term ends at the end of this year. However, the transportation infrastructure and transit service that he helped put in place during his quarter-century of service will remain far into the future.

 

LAVTA To Resume Fare Collection and Front Door Boarding October 1

Effective Thursday October 1, the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA) will resume charging fares for all Wheels, Rapid and Dial-a-Ride paratransit services. Fares have been suspended since March 20 as a preventive measure in response to the potential spread of COVID-19 because of the proximity of the fare payment area to the bus operator.

LAVTA has now installed temporary barriers next to the driver’s compartment that will shield drivers from boarding passengers. A more permanent barrier system is currently under consideration for purchase in the near future. Passengers have also been required to board and exit buses through the rear door since March 20. Front door boarding will resume on October 1 as well.

At this time, there will be no change to the level of service currently provided.

LAVTA Honored as North America’s Top Transit Agency!!

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) has announced the selection of the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA) as the recipient of the 2020 Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award. The annual award acknowledges excellence among public transportation providers in North America. In LAVTA’s 35-year history, this the first time it has received this honor.

 

In announcing the award, APTA Chair Nuria Fernandez said “This is a prestigious and well-deserved honor for your organization. It also spotlights your outstanding leadership, working with your Board, your team members and your community. Your success is a model that our industry can emulate.”

 

LAVTA’s award is for rail or bus transit systems providing 4 million or fewer passenger trips annually. Agencies are evaluated by APTA’s Awards Committee based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative criteria. The qualitative criteria include safety, operations and maintenance, customer service, financial management, diversity and inclusion, marketing, and community relations. Quantitative measures include ridership, cost effectiveness, and road call data.

 

Livermore Vice Mayor Bob Woerner, currently LAVTA’s Board Chair, recognized the LAVTA staff and thanked the other members of the LAVTA Board of Directors. Woerner noted “In the past three years, this agency comprised of a 14-person staff and a seven-member Board of Directors has been named Transit Agency of the Year in California by two different organizations and has now been selected as the top transit agency of our size in North America. These honors are truly a testament to the quality of our small staff and the effective collaboration between that staff and our Board of Directors. In the midst of the current pandemic, during which our employees are busy providing an essential service to the residents of our region, it is nice to be able to take a moment and reflect on all we have accomplished recently as an organization.”

 

Among the accomplishments which led to LAVTA receiving the award:

  • An increase in ridership of 12.1% over the two-year period from 2017 to 2019

  • The successful passage of a Student Mobility Initiative at Las Positas College (LPC) to fund unlimited access transit passes for all LPC students

  • Launching a Shared Autonomous Vehicle (SAV) project in proximity to the East Dublin/Pleasanton BART Station to help provide first and last mile connections with BART

  • Serving as executive and administrative support for the Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority (Valley Link), which held its first Board meeting in January 2018

  • Partnering with the city of Livermore to relocate and rehabilitate the Southern Pacific Railroad’s historic train depot for use as LAVTA’s Livermore Transit Center sales and operations building

  • Initiating Go Dublin, an on-demand real-time mobility alternative for Dublin residents utilizing a unique partnership with Uber and Lyft

 

LAVTA and the rest of this year’s award winners will be honored at an APTA Virtual Meeting in October and again in March at APTA’s annual TRANSform Conference.