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Alameda, Contra Costa County, CA November 7, 2006 Election
Smart Voter

Daysog Responds To Positive Email From Constituent Regarding AC Transit

By Tony Daysog

Candidate for Director; Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District; Ward 3

This information is provided by the candidate
E-Mail from Alamedan (Saturday, October 28, 2006):

"....I voted for Tony Daysog. Tony is about the 'nuts and bolts, bread and butter matters' such as 'clean buses with courteous drivers.' What a refreshing view! Well, the buses seem clean enough, but courteous drivers would be a nice change+and on-time drivers as well.

How many times have returning Alameda passengers waited on Broadway for more than a half hour for a rush-hour bus that is supposed to come every ten minutes, then FOUR No. 51 buses arrive running end to end, all half empty? Answer: at least once a week. And how many times has a 51 left someone standing at one of the stops near the Webster Street tunnel because the aisle is full near the driver and he's too lazy to stand up and ask passengers to move back (yes, there's ALWAYS room for them to move back)? Again, about once every week.

Somebody at AC Transit simply does not want to bother MANAGING the drivers and needs to be replaced.

Tony's the man."


Tony Responds to the Positive Email: "Thank you. My focus on basic issues of concern to bus rider, believe it or not, has a 'rhyme and reason.' If you go to the California State Controller's web-site, you will see years and years of operating revenue data (as well as expenditures). Throughout the 1990s (and into 2001 I believe), bus passenger revenues amounted to roughly 24% of operating revenues (even before the height of the economy), although in the last several years, it's been around 17% to 18%. If AC's operating revenues today was 22% to 24%, the bus system would be running in the black, as opposed to year-in year-out deficits it finds itself with.

So, what we need to do is focus on things that matter to the bus rider -- to keep them and, for those who left, to get them back. First, as I indicated, the bus has to be comfortable and clean, and bus drivers need to be courteous. And, we need to expand the use of 'GPS' (global positioning system) technology. Now, you might wonder: is GPS a 'razzle dazzle' technology that amounts to a hill of beans? Does it improve the bus ride experience?

First off, keep this in mind: the AC bus you ride at this very moment **already** has a GPS system up and running -- it's in the black box-like console you see as you pay for your ride. It's been there for years now. However, the AC Transit management uses this GPS to track where its buses are -- but it doesn't share this information with the bus rider. However . . . help is on the way: the AC Transit system is starting an experiement in the use of GPS for bus riders at the Hayward BART station.

In the future, you should be able to go on-line to find out via GPS how soon it will take your bus to get to your bus stop. Also, in the future, BART stops or neighborhood stores will also have these GPS-based consoles that let's you track the whereabout of your bus. This is really exciting stuff, and this gets to the bottom-line needs of the bus-rider: 'Where is my bus! How long do I have to stand at this bus stop?'

Now, not all technologies are necessarily good for AC, by the way. AC Transit recently installed WIFI system on some Transbay buses, with some thought of expanding this to other lines. I'm not convinced that that's a technology that really improves the *bus system*. It's nice to have, sure. But, if the bus is still late and you have no clue where it is (or even worse, if the bus is not clean, etc., etc.), what good is WIFI on a bus?

On another important note about why we need to focus on passengers: Going back to the State Controller's data, you will see that, as a percentage of operating revenues, state money goes up and down -- it's good to get when you can, but you can't really depend on it. In addition, state funds primarily funds capital expenditures, not operating expenditures. The reality is that the bulk of ooperating revenues comes from fair box (i.e. passenger revenues), plus your property taxes, plus sales taxes (which also fluctuates with the season and the nature of the economy).

Thank you so much for writing the email you wrote. I wish you all the best."

- Tony Daysog (also regular bus rider)

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