Study may be savior of transit |

Study may be savior of transit

The Nevada County Citizens Coalition for Public Transit was formed in response to the massive reductions to service and increase in fares, proposed and adopted, by the Nevada County Transportation Commission and Operations Policy Council for the Gold Country Stage and Telecare. Despite the efforts of a large number of riders and concerned citizens, poor decision making has caused a steady decline in public transportation in Nevada County.

A glimmer of light appeared with the funding of a governance study by Transportation Consultants Nelson and Nygaard. Members of the Citizens Coalition participated on the advisory board for the study. Copies of the full report are available at our two local libraries.

The findings of the governance study were presented to the Transit Services Commission on Feb. 16. The Citizens Coalition for Public Transit also presented recommendations based on the results of the study.

The highest priority of the Citizens Coalition is to support the recommended new Joint Powers Authority Organizational Chart. The new organization would reduce the layers of confusing county government bureaucracy that currently plagues public transit. The development of an independent transit authority would simplify the chain of command and facilitate an effective forum for a successful, accountable, flexible and pro-active transportation advocacy in our county with a positive vision for the future.

The Citizens Coalition further recommends that a citizens advisory council be added to the organizational chart. Advisory councils are an extremely effective liaison for input from the community at large. This empowerment benefits everyone, and is an expression of true democracy.

Public transportation is an integral part of a healthy, vibrant community. In that spirit, the Citizens Coalition advocates keeping delivery of service within the community. We are against privatizing the bus service, where profit becomes the driving force. We believe that the role of government is to provide basic services for the benefit of all. Public libraries, public education, public water supply and public transportation are examples of services we believe should remain “by the people and for the people.”

In this spirit, the Citizens Coalition for Public Transit believes that the Transit Authority Board should be elected, autonomous of the Board of Supervisors and city councils, as these members already make up the Transportation Commission.

Finally, in the view of the Citizens Coalition, it is essential that all those hired for management positions be advocates for public transportation and have a track record of managing vibrant transit systems in other communities.

Joy Waite is a resident of Grass Valley

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