Greg Harper quotes

I have participated with Greg Harper in several candidate forums and a newspaper interview. In these, I have heard him say some interesting things...

   • He said community input about moving bus stops "doesn't matter".

I think that sums up his approach to representing his constituents. Community input not mattering to Greg Harper fits in with AC Transit lying on their application to move bus stops.

I believe that community input is very important. We live in a democracy, not a dictatorship.

   • He said that bus bunching is caused by wheelchair users getting on and off the bus.

I don't think that is necessarily true, there are a lot of variations in the time it takes for people to board and exit buses. But according to his reasoning, the new Bus Rapid Transit system will also suffer from bunched up buses.

Headway based scheduling can fix the bus bunching problem while giving wheelchair users ample time to get on and off the bus.

   • He said Bus Rapid Transit is going to turn International Boulevard "into one big shopping mall".

I doubt that will happen. But I think there might be some gentrification, which is not necessarily a good thing.

   • He said I was wrong, that AC Transit buses carry an average of 15 riders. I had said 7.

AC Transit's own Sustainability Report indicates an average of 7 riders per bus. Figure 4, page 7 The latest report I could fird was 2010. The ridership might have increased slightly since then, but unless a miracle has occurred, it hasn't changed to 15.

   • He said he wants to improve AC Transit finances by cutting employee benefits.

I want to improve AC Transit finances by improving efficiency. Fixing the bus bunching problem is a step toward doing that, because a pair of bunched up buses provides similar service to one bus, but at twice the cost.

AC Transit employees should not have to pay the price for bad decisions made by management.

   • He said his singleminded goal is to increase ridership.

I agree with that as an important goal, but I think he has been ineffective in doing that. AC Transit's own 2010 sustainability report shows that between 2004 and 2010, total passenger miles DROPPED by 16 percent. Past experience of bay area transit operators has shown than minor improvements to service, like having buses every 9 minutes versus every 10 minutes, do not result in increased ridership. But it does increase the cost of operations and waste energy.

In order to increase ridership, you have to fundamentally alter the balance between driving a car and riding the bus. Adding a new bus line that allows new riders to use AC Transit could increase ridership. Making AC Transit free might also increase ridership.

Small improvements to service can make life easier for bus riders, and whereever reasonably possible they should be made. But I believe they need to be weighed against the effects on the community, the environment and the financial stability of AC Transit