Elected Officials Discuss Expediting BART to ACE Rail Connection

The inaugural meeting of the newly formed Altamont Regional Rail Working Group was held on Wednesday, February 10th at the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority offices to discuss potential BART and ACE Rail linkages to better connect the Bay Area-Central Valley region. Focus from the Working Group centered on the decades of planning for BART to Livermore and the need to have BART go to Greenville Road in Livermore to make the inter-regional connection with the San Joaquin Valley via the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE rail service).

Supervisor Scott Haggerty, who was elected Chair of the Working Group, expressed his thoughts, “I’m very happy to be sitting with my colleagues—the Mayors that represent the Tri-Valley cities, elected officials from the City of Tracy and the County of San Joaquin, Directors from BART and ACE, and honored representatives of our congressional delegation. The time for waiting and being patient for BART to come to Livermore to connect with ACE is over. As elected officials I think it is important that we figure out a way to deliver this project.”

The BART to ACE project is planned for construction along the I-580 corridor, with the first phase of the project extending BART as far as Isabel Avenue at a cost of $1.2 billion. The Working Group estimates conclude that each year of delay in the project cost taxpayers approximately $30 million.
“We all understand that there is a lack of balance between jobs and housing in the region,” commented Mayor John Marchand of the City of Livermore. “The result is increasing travel and congestion on I-580 to connect housing in the San Joaquin Valley with jobs in the Bay Area. What’s important to know is that there is now an organization that understands and is planning for this important mega-region corridor.”

Members of the Working Group include Supervisor Scott Haggerty of the County of Alameda, Supervisor and Chair of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors, Moses Zapien, Mayor David Haubert from the City of Dublin, Mayor Jerry Thorne from the City of Pleasanton, Mayor John Marchand from the City of Livermore, Councilmember Veronica Vargas from the City of Tracy, ACE Board Member Vince Hernandez (Councilmember from City of Manteca), BART Board Member John McPartland, and LAVTA Board Member Steven Spedowfski (Councilmember from City of Livermore).

The Working Group will meet bi-monthly in an effort to plan for the most efficient, cost effective delivery of BART to ACE, with near future meetings focusing on the development of the Working Group’s goals and objectives, to include examples of successful methods of rail project delivery from around the nation.

For more information on the Altamont Regional Rail Working Group please contact Michael Tree, Executive Director for the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority at 925-455-7564.

Wheels to Implement Minor Service Adjustments Effective January 25, 2016

Wheels will be implementing the following service adjustments effective January 25, 2016:

• Route 11 – Schedule adjustments have been made to the afternoon schedule in order to better reflect traffic conditions. The adjusted schedule will continue to serve passengers who make timed transfers between Route 11 and other Wheels routes at the Livermore Transit Center.

• Route 501 – The trip that currently departs Dublin High School at 5:10pm will be discontinued due to very low ridership. An option for passengers using the 5:10pm trip is boarding the 5:14pm departure of Route 3 from Dublin High School, from which connections can be made to other Wheels routes or at the East Dublin/Pleasanton BART Station.

Wheels New Website Offers Improved Transit Information for Customers

Wheels customers can now take advantage of the agency’s new and improved website – www.wheelsbus.com. It offers a variety of user-friendly services including real time bus arrival information, rider service alerts, Google trip planner and enhanced social media feeds.

“Our new website gives Wheels customers what they’ve wanted: easy access to trip planning, real time information about when their bus will arrive, and route delays/detour notices with real time rider alerts,” states Board Chair, Don Biddle.

The new website was designed by Bay Area web design firm, Planeteria.

Wheels to Adjust Schedules for Upcoming Holidays

Wheels will be operating the following service for the Christmas Holiday:

Thursday, December 24thEnhanced Saturday Service Schedule – All normal Saturday service plus the addition of limited service on Routes 20X and 70X

Friday, December 25thSpecial Service – Routes 10, 15 operate on a special holiday schedule, see individual schedules for details.

 

Wheels will operating the following service for the New Year’s Holiday:

Thursday, December 31stRegular Service – All regular schedules in effect.

Friday, January 1stSunday Service – See Sunday schedules for Routes 1, 8, 10, 12, and 15.

 

Wheels Customer Service Center will be open on December 24th and December 31st from 5:00am to 7:00am and 4:00pm to 6:00pm and closed on December 25th and January 1st.

 

 

 

 

Wheels Stuff a Bus Food Drive Celebrates Season of Sharing

As the holiday season approaches, local food banks are in need of essential supplies. To provide support, the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA), operator of the Wheels bus system in the Tri-Valley, will host its annual “Stuff-A-Bus” holiday food drive. The event is being held on December 6th from noon to 4 pm in support of the Open Heart Kitchen and Tri-Valley Haven Food Pantries. Once again, Safeway Supermarkets has partnered with LAVTA to host the holiday food drive at three of its Tri-Valley stores. Wheels bus drivers and other volunteers will be on hand to collect non-perishable food donations to help bring good cheer to Tri-Valley families this holiday season.

“When people think of the Tri-Valley, most think of the large corporate offices, shopping malls, wineries and large homes, but few think of the people who struggle day to day.  Many residents are in need of food, especially around the holidays. The ‘Stuff-A-Bus’ event ensures that all donations collected in the Tri-Valley remain in the Tri-Valley, where they are needed,” says Board Chair, Don Biddle.

Safeway will be hosting the event at three stores in the Tri-Valley. These include: 4495 First Street, Livermore; 7499 Dublin Blvd., Dublin; and 6790 Bernal Ave., Pleasanton. The most needed items are: juice boxes, cooking oil, granola bars, canned vegetables and fruit, coffee, pasta, rice, sugar and flour.

To promote the event, radio station 101.7 KKIQ will be having a live broadcast from noon to 2 pm at the Livermore Safeway location.

Clipper Expands to Wheels November 1st

Wheels will be accepting Clipper, the Bay Area’s transit fare payment card, beginning November 1st. Wheels joins three other East Bay agencies including County Connection, Tri Delta Transit and WestCAT in offering Clipper. The four transit agencies will accept Clipper cards loaded with e-cash value and 31-day passes.

“Clipper offers ultimate convenience for our riders who can now connect to other transit agencies such as BART with one fare payment card,” stated LAVTA Board Chair, Don Biddle. “This allows for seamless connectivity with other Bay Area transit agencies.”

Clipper already is accepted on AC Transit, BART, Caltrain, FAST, Golden Gate Transit and Ferry, Marin Transit, Muni, SamTrans, SF Bay Ferry, SolTrans, Vacaville City Coach, VINE and VTA.

Wheels will be offering a new 31-day rolling monthly pass on Clipper that allows for flexibility in selecting the start date for the pass, rather than a traditional monthly pass which is only good from the first until the last day of any given month.

East Bay Clipper cardholders can also take advantage of new Day Passes for unlimited rides. By paying for rides with cash value, cardholders can automatically earn a Day Pass for unlimited rides in a single day on Wheels routes and most County Connection, Tri Delta Transit and WestCAT routes. Once a cardholder pays $3.75 in fares in one day ($1.75 for senior and RTC customers) on any combination of these transit agencies, rides will be free of charge for the rest of that day.

Clipper is a service provided by Bay Area transit operators and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

Customers can purchase Clipper and/or add value at the Livermore Transit Center and at Wheels’ Administrative Office, as well as at local Walgreens and Whole Foods locations.