As the week comes to a close and we move into September there’s excitement at LAVTA for the Wheels bus system and a growing number of projects that are influencing transportation in the Tri-Valley and beyond.

Student Ridership on Wheels Growing – The start of the school year has brought  strong student ridership.  Dublin High School has nearly doubled its student ridership from last year and the number has continued to grow throughout the last two weeks with the Try Transit promotion in full swing.  Additionally, ridership has more than doubled at Las Positas College as the students are enjoying the second full academic year with Rapid service and their Transit Pass, which allows students, faculty and staff to ride the Rapid and the Wheels bus system at no cost.  Ridership this week at Las Positas College broke the 600 rides per day barrier.  Systemwide Wheels carried more than 7,300 rides on Tuesday, which hasn’t been done in several years.

Senate Approves Shared Autonomous Vehicle Testing Bill – On Thursday the Senate approved AB 1444 (Baker) and sent the bill to the Governor for consideration.  The bill paves the way for LAVTA to test shared autonomous vehicles in the City of Dublin.  This is an exciting project and will help develop the autonomous vehicle usage in public transportation.  Some of the key partners on this project include the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, BART, Contra Costa Transportation Authority, County Connection, Stantec, MV and EasyMile.

Assembly Select Committee on Rail Convenes – On Wednesday, the Assembly Select Committee on Rail met and discussed the multitude of inter-city and commuter rail services ongoing in California.  Rail ridership is growing and the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission presented it’s ACE forward efforts to plan for future and expanded rail to the Bay Area.  Also discussed by Tim Sbranti, representative for Congressman Eric Swalwell, is the planning work being done by the Alameda – San Joaquin Regional Rail Working Group, which is currently studying the future rail connection of ACE and BART in the Tri-Valley.

Historic Depot Renovation In Progress – In Livermore, the renovation of the Historic Depot at the downtown Wheels Transit Center is in full steam.  Currently, the foundation is being constructed.  Once completed the Historic Depot will be moved on the foundation and renovated.  The City of Livermore is looking to complete the project in early 2018.

Once completed, the Depot will be home for the Wheels customer service team.  Once again customers will be able to buy train and other transportation tickets from the Depot.  Additionally, the Depot will be the home for a museum of the historic building, as well as a meeting place for public and other meetings.




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A new Wheels bus design

With the 4th of July tomorrow I couldn’t help but to think about the new Wheels bus design approved by the LAVTA Board last month:

The new design was created by our talented LAVTA Marketing Team in collaboration with Gillig and is similar to the elegance and contemporary looks of the Rapid bus design, with the exception of the traditional patriotic Wheels colors.  I think it looks great and does a lot to improve the Wheels image.

Over the next few months we’ll implement the design on more than half the Wheels fleet.  The public can also expect updated bus stop signage and a refresh of the Wheels website with updated colors and logos.  Until then, enjoy the 4th of July holiday and don’t forget to ride Wheels when traveling to downtown Livermore or the Fairgrounds in Pleasanton for the fireworks.


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Art Shelter Dedication

The other day I had the chance to attend an art shelter dedication at the bus stop on the corner of Vasco Road and Patterson Pass in Livermore.  It was a wonderful tribute to the Granada High School Art Class students and their instructor Laura Thournir and the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District.  The Mayor, John Marchand, a huge supporter of the arts, attended and led the celebrations.

LAVTA has been sponsoring art shelters in Livermore and Pleasanton for 18 years, starting with the shelter located on Bluebell at Sunflower with it’s lovely sunflowers in full bloom.

The theme for the shelter that was dedicated most recently is titled Hop on the Bus.  The artwork follows the style of artist Keith Haring, who was an American artist and social activist whose work responded to the New York City street culture.  Personally, I like the style of the art…I can’t help day dreaming a bit when I’m looking at the work.

LAVTA began the bus shelter art program in 1999 to discourage vandalism.  Through the years these murals have embellished our neighborhoods while providing an opportunity for budding young artists to utilize their creative talents.  In addition, each piece offers customers on Wheels a pleasant experience while waiting for the bus.  Click here for a page on our website that features a few more art mural shelters in the Wheels system.



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Busy Week For Legislation In Sacramento and Projects at LAVTA

Its been a busy week at LAVTA.  Here’s an update on some of the important projects, with a warm welcome to our new Marketing Specialist, Christy Navarro!

Shared Autonomous Vehicle Project

This past week AB 1444, LAVTA’s bill authored by Assemblywoman Baker was approved by the Appropriations Committee and is next scheduled to be considered by the Assembly Floor sometime next week. Staff has been working with County Connection, our neighboring transit agency, to partner on this high profile project. The goal is to test a shared autonomous vehicle on city streets in Dublin in 2018.

Legislation for New Rail Authority

AB 758, the bill that creates a new rail construction authority to plan and construct a BART/ACE connection in the Tri-Valley passed out of Appropriations on Friday and will be considered by the Assembly Floor next week. The bill has wide support and after going to the Assembly Floor will begin its process of approval in the Senate.

SmartTrips Pleasanton

SmartTrips Pleasanton, the individualized marketing effort along the 10R alignment in the community, is about 80% completed. This week I had the chance to go out with the travel ambassadors and talk to residents in Pleasanton.  It was a great experience.  On Monday, Memorial Day for the nation, the SmartTrips travel ambassadors were out at Amador Valley Community Park talking with residents along the Santa Rita Road corridor, letting kids color and have fun on a Rapid bus.

Ribbon Cutting for Art Shelter on June 1st

A reminder that this coming Thursday at 1pm will be the art mural shelter dedication at the corner of Vasco Road and Patterson Pass in Livermore. The art mural was created by students at Granada High School and attendance is expected to be high.


Q’Straint Demo with Board Member Coomber and WAAC Chair Hendrickson-Rivera

Q’Straint representatives visited LAVTA recently to demonstrate the new Q’POD mobility restraint system to LAVTA Board Member Bob Coomber and WAAC Chair Carmen Hendrickson-Rivera.   After a demonstration of how the system works everyone was able to take a ride in the Wheels bus to get a feel for the restraint system in action.

New Marketing Specialist Joins LAVTA

Christy Navarro is the newest employee at LAVTA, joining the team as our marketing specialist. Christy has experience with graphic design and social media and will make a great complement to new Marketing Manager, Tony McCaulay.


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