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BATWG:  The Bay Area Transportation Working Group (BATWG) is an all volunteer organization established in 2012 to keep up with and respond to important Bay Area transportation issues and events. Our primary objective is to find ways of easing regional traffic congestion by improving the reliability and appeal of Bay Area passenger rail and bus systems. BATWG is dedicated to working with like-minded groups to bring about these needed changes.

An Update on AC Transit

January 10, 2019

busonlylaneBecause of the sluggish pace of Bay Area infrastructure development it is estimated that a half a century will slip by before another transbay passenger rail service is up and running. In the meantime it is incumbent on AC Transit to carry a much greater share of the transbay travel load than it is currently managing.  According to AC Transit sources, with the addition of 40 new double decker buses it would be possible to expand its transbay peak period operation from today’s 150 buses an hour to 190 buses an hour. This is still far below the 300 buses an hour that AC’s grossly oversized bus deck in the new Salesforce Transit Center is capable of handling. More buses would help, but the big challenge for AC Transit is to boost its transbay ridership from today’s puny 14,500 riders a day to something closer to the 24,000 riders an hour that the new bus deck is capable of handling. Click here to continue reading.

A Corrupted MTC Board Selection Process

January 10, 2019

Bay Area transportation is in a royal mess, due in large part to the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s failed policies.

With the upcoming appointment of a new MTC executive director there is now an opportunity to improve things. As things stand MTC is little more than an echo chamber for powerful interests. It is not receptive to new ideas and its endless series of “public outreach” meetings are geared more to selling than listening.  Perhaps this is in part because every four years the MTC Board members are selected through a weak and secretive process that is again in progress at this time. Click here to continue reading.

Who Should be Sponsoring DTX?

December 11, 2018

Caltrain1In recent years San Francisco City Hall has taken a lot of heat from BATWG and other groups for its lack of commitment to bringing the Caltrain trains downtown and into the new Salesforce Transit Center. While past and present municipal officials have often been effusive in their praise of the extension project (DTX), no one actually does much. The City of San Francisco’s financial contribution to the new Transit Center and DTX extension stands at less 2% of the project cost, compared to its 37% allocation to the Third Street/Central Subway project.  In any event, for whatever reason the government of San Francisco has been unable to advance DTX. Click here to continue reading.

An Open Letter to SFMTA Director

October 11, 2018

Dear Ed…

Thanks for attending and joining in at the September 29th Transportation Forum. Your participation was clearly appreciated. The outline below was what BATWG had expected to present at the Forum. The proposals reflect some of what’s needed to strengthen the SFMTA and improve the City’s response to its overall transportation problem. We hope they are of use:

A. The SFMTA Board

Granting the MTA immunity from day-to-day political influence (through SF Prop E adopted in 1999 and SF Prop A adopted in 2007) was probably a good idea.  However 4-year terms for appointed local officials is too long. The elected Mayor and Supervisors should be able to intercede when necessary every two years. The terms of the MTA’s appointive Board members should be reduced from 4 years to 2. Being an MTA Board member is a difficult and demanding job. All seven members of the MTA Board must therefore be strong and committed individuals. Click here to read more.

A Letter to MTC Commissioners and ABAG Executive Board Members

October 6, 2018

To MTC Commissioners and ABAG Executive Board members:

An important and difficult decision is before you; namely, the selection of the next MTC Executive Director. The Region is currently afflicted with chronic gridlock and a badly disconnected patchwork of trains, buses and boats. To ensure that the best possible candidates are identified and screened for the job, BATWG strongly recommends that this important selection be pursuant to a through and professional national search conducted by objective individuals highly experienced in the field. The process should also be informed by input from the MTC Board, ABAG, the local jurisdictions, the transit agencies and other stakeholders.

In an effort to inform the selection process we cite the successful tenure of Paul C. Watt, MTC’s first Executive Director. Here are some of the qualities that helped Mr. Watt to introduce and successfully promote the concept of regionalism to the Greater Bay Area. Click here to continue reading.