We Were Just Named the Top California Transit Agency!!!

The Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA) was recognized this week as the California Transit Agency of the Year for 2018. The award was presented at the Small Operators Awards Ceremony held as part of the California Transit Association’s Annual Fall Conference. The annual award is given to a California transit agency that has demonstrated improvement in the performance of its system including ridership, customer service, service expansion and financial management. Alameda County Supervisor and LAVTA Board Chair Scott Haggerty remarked, “It’s an honor that the hard work and collaborative efforts of the LAVTA Board and staff have been recognized with this statewide award. This award would also not have been possible without the support of our member  jurisdictions and our funding partners.”

Among the accomplishments which led to LAVTA receiving the award:
• A major service restructuring that refocused resources on more productive services with improved access to BART, ACE and Las Positas College
• A ridership increase of 7.2% in FY2018 compared to the prior year
• 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
• Refreshing the Wheels brand with a new vehicle design and logo which is complementary to the agency’s Rapid buses
• Initiating Go Dublin, an on-demand real-time mobility alternative for Dublin residents utilizing a unique partnership with Uber and Lyft

Dublin Mayor and LAVTA Vice Chair David Haubert said “It’s amazing that so much was accomplished with such a lean, well-run organization, comprised of a 14-person staff and a seven member Board of Directors. We have much to be proud of.”

About the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority
The Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA) was created in 1985 by the cities of Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton and Alameda County to serve area transit needs. LAVTA serves nearly 2 million passengers a year on our Wheels bus and paratransit services. LAVTA supports environmental sustainability by reducing vehicle trips and traffic congestion on local streets and improving air quality in the Tri-Valley region.

In addition to passenger fares, the agency is supported financially by federal, state and local agencies, including the Alameda County Transportation Commission’s Measure B and BB.

Schedule Adjustments for Route 53 Afternoon Trips Due to Construction at W. Dublin/Pleasanton BART Station

RIDER ALERT – Route 53

Effective Friday October 12, 2018: The construction activity near the West Dublin/Pleasanton BART parking garage has required this route to utilize a temporary stop for BART passengers. Due to the additional walk distance required to reach the temporary stop, we are adjusting afternoon bus departure times on the Route 53 as shown below. No additional “courtesy holds” will be possible during this schedule adjustment, which will continue for the duration of the construction project.

Stoneridge & McWilliams West Dublin Pleasanton BART Stoneridge Mall  Depart Fairgrounds- East/ACE ACE Train

Depart

4:00 pm 4:02 pm 4:06 pm 4:21 pm 4:28 pm
5:00 pm 5:02 pm 5:06 pm 5:21 pm 5:28 pm
6:00 pm 6:02 pm 6:06 pm 6:21 pm 6:28 pm
7:00 pm 7:02 pm 7:06 pm 7:21 pm 7:31 pm

For complete route and schedule information, visit wheelsbus.com or call (925) 455-7500.

Schedule Adjustments for Late Starts at Foothill High and Amador Valley High – Starting Thursday Aug. 30

RIDER ALERT

Route 605 & Route 611 

Effective Thursday August 30, 2018: In order to accommodate the Thursday late starts at Amador Valley High School, the morning schedule on the Routes 605 and 611 on Thursdays will be identical to the existing morning late start schedule on Wednesdays.

Click on these links to see the revised Route 605 and 611 schedules.

Route 602 & Route 604

Effective Friday August 31, 2018: In order to accommodate the new Monday and Friday late starts at Foothill High School, the morning schedule on the Routes 602 and 604 on Mondays and Fridays will be identical to the existing morning late start schedule on Wednesdays.

Click on these links to see the revised Route 602 and 604 schedules.

After 40 Years Behind the Wheel(s), Diane Farner Retires

Diane Farner started driving buses in the Tri-Valley in January 1978 for the Livermore Unified School District. In 1980, she went to work for the Rideo bus service in Livermore, then transitioned to the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA) when LAVTA absorbed the Rideo service in 1987. After 40 years of transporting area residents, Farner recently retired at age 80.

In four decades of driving buses, Farner saw significant technological improvements in the vehicles she operated. She has driven buses with manual transmissions, many with no air conditioning and one with a driver’s seat that was located between the engine compartment and a window that did not open. Diane also recalled that in the days before on-board radio communication and cell phones, her passengers would sometimes exit her bus and call police if there was a troublemaking passenger on board.

Farner witnessed other changes as well, including the evolution of many of the passengers she carried and the urbanization of the Tri-Valley region. She remembers riders who started riding her bus when they were in high school, then continued riding to work as adults. Diane also recalls when the region was a bit more rural in nature and her passengers sometimes had to get off of the bus to help persuade farm animals to get off the road so she could continue on her route.

Diane’s favorite group of passengers over the years was a group of engineers and scientists she used to carry to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Occasionally, she would pull her bus over at the Donut Wheel in downtown Livermore long enough for the group to hustle in and get coffee and donuts to take to work.

Farner and her husband moved to Livermore from Alameda in 1971. She plans to remain in the area.

LAVTA Celebrates Launch of Autonomous Vehicle Testing

LIVERMORE, CA, June 27, 2018 – The Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA) celebrated the launch of testing of its new Shared Autonomous Vehicle (SAV) on June 22 at an event held at the Dublin/Pleasanton BART Station. Approximately 70 area business leaders, elected officials and project sponsors attended the event.

Vehicle testing will take place on public roads in the city of Dublin, California. Dublin Mayor and LAVTA Board member David Haubert welcomed those in attendance, saying “I’m very proud that the innovative City of Dublin has been chosen to develop the leading edge of autonomous vehicle travel. Working together with LAVTA, EasyMile staff and our other project partners, our city traffic engineers will be among the first in the country to link a rail station to last mile destinations by navigating complex stoplight and turning scenarios along public roads.”

Funding for the project was obtained through a grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Alameda County Supervisor and LAVTA Vice Chair Scott Haggerty, who secured the grant, noted that “providing a convenient and reliable first and last mile zero emission service will have a substantial environmental impact by reducing single occupancy vehicle trips to employment, retail and residential destinations located near the Dublin/Pleasanton BART Station.”

LAVTA’s SAV project also received legislative support through the efforts of California State Assemblymember Catharine Baker. Baker sponsored Assembly Bill 1444, which gave LAVTA the authority to operate the autonomous vehicle on public roads during testing. Regarding the project, Baker said “This shuttle is not only going to make our area an innovation hub, but also make our lives easier by making great connections for folks in the East Bay.”
LAVTA’s partners on the SAV project include GoMentum Station, which will oversee the entire testing process and First Transit, which will provide staffing, maintenance and operation support for the project. Speaking to the testing process, Pleasanton Councilmember and LAVTA Chair Karla Brown told attendees “Before we will begin carrying passengers, the technology on our vehicle will need to be proven by passing more than 100 different testing scenarios. That process is expected to take two to three years.”

The tests will include infrastructure communication; interactions with others on the road such as vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians; and a variety of road and weather conditions. LAVTA’s SAV is a second generation EasyMile EZ10, which can operate in fixed route or on-demand mode. The vehicle weighs 3,500 pounds and has space for 12 passengers. Although capable of higher speeds, during testing the vehicle will operate at 15 miles per hour or less. An operator from First Transit will be onboard the vehicle at all times during the testing phase.

Michael Tree, Executive Director of LAVTA, sees Shared Autonomous Vehicles as an important piece of the overall mobility puzzle. He noted that “Transit agencies are facing growing public frustration with inadequate parking at major transit centers and a lack of reliable on-demand options for those all-important first and last mile connections. For example, in our service area, both the West Dublin/Pleasanton and the East Dublin/Pleasanton BART stations provide intercity and Transbay transit options for TriValley residents; however parking lots at both of these stations are typically full by 7:30 am. Traditional fixed route transit services are only an attractive option to choice riders if the route happens to travel within a reasonable walk distance of the commuter’s origin or
destination.”

Although LAVTA is a relatively small transit system, Tree feels that the agency must embrace and implement new technology and mobility opportunities to remain relevant. LAVTA’s fixed route bus service area covers 40 square miles including the cities of Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton in Alameda County, approximately 35 miles east of San Francisco. LAVTA contracts for the operation and maintenance of all fixed route and paratransit services, with 70 fixed route buses and 18 paratransit vehicles. Combined total fixed route and paratransit ridership is approximately 1.6 million annually. LAVTA’s entire administrative staff consists of just 14 employees. Further evidence of the agency’s commitment to new mobility approaches occurred in 2016, as part of a bus service redesign. LAVTA introduced an innovative partnership with ridesharing companies Uber, Lyft and DeSoto Cab to offer city of Dublin residents enhanced transportation options and flexibility, in an on-demand and real time format. LAVTA’s Go Dublin program was the first of its kind in the Bay Area and the first to partner with both Uber and Lyft. With the Go Dublin promotion, LAVTA pays for 50% of the shared ride fare, up to $5 per trip. To qualify for the discount, rideshare trips must both start and end within the Dublin city limits, which includes both BART stations. Implementation of this program coincided with the elimination of a fixed route in Dublin that had very low productivity. At the time of the service restructuring, the route was carrying only five passengers per hour with a per passenger subsidy of $15. The Go Dublin partnership provides a higher level of service to Dublin residents at a lower subsidy per rider to LAVTA. The pilot program is being funded through a $100,000 grant from the Alameda County Transportation Commission and another $100,000 from LAVTA. An
evaluation of the program will be completed by the end of the year.

Proposed Modifications to the Wheels Supplemental Routes in Dublin

As new residential developments continue to be completed in Dublin, the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA) has seen a substantial increase in the demand on its supplemental (school-focused) Wheels routes – especially between eastern Dublin and Dublin High School.

In order to be able to continue accommodating the increased demand in a planned fashion, LAVTA commissioned a small study in early 2018 with the purpose of gathering land-use and demographic data that could assist it with assessing capacity needs in Dublin over the near-term future. The study team also held outreach with local stakeholders and conducted an online survey with students and parents to gather additional input regarding the needs and priorities of the community.

Based on the findings of the study, the following modifications are being proposed for the Dublin supplemental service this coming fall 2018:

  • Extension of Route 502 to south Jordan Ranch, serving the easternmost part of Central Parkway and the surrounding subdivisions.
  • Discontinuation of portions of Route 503, including Wildwood Road, Dougherty Road, and the East Dublin/Pleasanton BART station; and discontinuation of the Route 503 late afternoon (5:03p) trip.
  • Implementation of a new service (Route 505) serving Positano Parkway – Gleason Drive – Tassajara Road – Central Parkway – Hacienda Drive – Dublin Boulevard – Village Parkway – Dublin High School. This line, which would partially overlap existing routes, would provide additional capacity in hotspot boarding areas as well as offer a faster travel option for students traveling to/from developments in the farthest eastern Dublin such as Positano Hill.
  • Addition of capacity – including overflow buses as necessary – consistent with the agency’s overflow load policy.

Further recommendations for the medium-term future include:

  • Potential realignment of mainline service such as Route 2.
  • Addition of a supplemental route dedicated to Fallon Middle School.
  • Expansion of service to the new developments off Palisades Drive.

LAVTA staff will finalize the short-term proposals into recommendations for approval by the Board of Directors at their June 4, 2018 meeting. Comments are welcome and will be received any time prior to that date by email at info@lavta.org.

SmartTrips Tri-Valley Program Begins May 2018!

Did you miss our SmartTrips team’s visit? If you received our ‘Sorry We Missed You’ door hanger but would still like to receive personalized transportation resources, fill out our quick participation form here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SmartTripsTri-Valley

The SmartTrips Tri-Valley team is in the neighborhood to help people try new ways of getting around, including riding the bus, carpooling, biking and walking instead of driving alone.

Our team is meeting with residents at their doorstep— and are in the process of visiting 4,000 households in proximity to the Rapid 30R route in Dublin and Livermore.

Taking a personalized door-to-door approach, the SmartTrips team will provide information and incentives for participants including transit schedules, a neighborhood map, a tote bag, and a Clipper Card with loaded value. SmartTrips team members wear a uniform and photo ID and will never ask to enter a resident’s household.

This project will be closely monitored to identify the impact on how residents travel.  Similar projects elsewhere have had great success, and typically see reductions in drive-alone travel of 5-15% by residents taking part, helping to tackle local traffic problems and reducing the environmental impacts of car trips.

SmartTrips Tri-Valley is a way to connect communities with rewarding benefits, and it will demonstrate a commitment to transportation choices for everyone. Help spread the word, and look for the SmartTrips team around Tri-Valley!

Questions? Call the SmartTrips Tri-Valley hotline at 925-339-6742 or email us at smarttrips@wheelsbus.com.

Dublin High School Student Develops Bus Tracking App

Dublin High School (DHS) sophomore Liam O’Flynn has made it easier for Tri-Valley residents to track the progress of Wheels and Rapid buses on their smartphones. Liam wrote and published the “Tri-Valley Buses” app shortly after he began attending DHS and had missed the bus a couple of times.

The Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA) already had a bus tracking application on its website, but it was not easily used on mobile devices. Liam was able to use LAVTA’s General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) Realtime data to develop his app. The same GTFS data from LAVTA and other US transit systems is used by Google maps for the transit service option on its mapping program.

The Tri-Valley Buses app is available for free download on iOS or Android devices. The app is designed to use very little data, battery or memory on mobile devices and does not track the user’s activities in any way or contain any kind of advertising. The user selects which Wheels or Rapid route they want to track and a map displays every bus stop along the route along with the precise location of every bus on the route. When the bus icon is tapped, the app shows vehicle number, direction of travel and on-time status. (See screenshot below)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority

The Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA) was created in 1985 by the cities of Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton and Alameda County to serve area transit needs. LAVTA serves nearly 2 million passengers a year on our Wheels bus and paratransit services.

LAVTA supports environmental sustainability by reducing vehicle trips and traffic congestion on local streets and improving air quality in the Tri-Valley region. In addition to passenger fares, the agency is supported financially by federal, state and local agencies, including the Alameda County Transportation Commission’s Measure B and BB.

Follow LAVTA on Facebook at facebook.com/wheelsbus and on Twitter @wheelsbus

 

New Wheels Buses Sport New Design

As you may have noticed, we have begun rolling out 18 brand new buses into service on Wheels routes throughout the Tri-Valley. The buses were built at the Gillig manufacturing facility, located right here in Livermore.

These Wheels buses feature a brand new exterior look and logo. The buses still carry the familiar red, white and blue Wheels colors, but the design has been modernized and the look and logo are now complementary to the design of LAVTA’s Rapid buses.

 

First Meeting Of The Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority On January 17, 2018

The first meeting of the newly created Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority has been set for Wednesday, January 17, 2018, at the Robert Livermore Community Center in the Palo Verde Room at 4444 East Street in Livermore.  The meeting will begin at 2pm.  The agenda and Board Packet can be found at www.acetobart.org.

The Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority was created by AB 758 (Eggman/Baker), which was signed into law in 2017.  The mission of the new Authority is to plan and deliver a cost-effective and responsive rail connection between the ACE rail system and BART in the Tri-Valley.  For more information, contact Michael Tree, Executive Director, at 925-455-7564.