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Bus Riders Would Suffer If Transit Contract Axed, Golden Gate Officials Say

As many as 125 transit jobs could be lost and bus service for thousands of daily riders would be affected if the transit district goes with a private contractor, officials said.

If county transportation officials terminated their contract with the Golden Gate transit district, bus service for thousands of Marin riders would suffer and as many as 125 transit workers could lose jobs, the agency said.

The Golden Gate Highway and Transportation District had a press conference at the San Rafael Transit Center Wednesday morning to gather support for its contract offer to Marin Transit, the agency responsible for the bus service within Marin County. The two agencies have worked together for 40 years but Marin Transit notified GGHTD that it would end its contract come December 2013 to save money. 

In a new contract offer to Marin Transit, GGBHTD will reduce what it charges the county for services from $133 per hour to $120, as well as a 25 percent reduction in annual service hours, going from the current 120,000 hours to 90,000 hours. The yearly 5 percent increase would be cut to 2.7 percent.

The offer, which goes before the Marin Transit board Monday, would cut as many as 30 Golden Gate Transit jobs and would transfer some routes and school services to a private operator. These routes include services around the Novato, the Marin Civic Center, North San Rafael, San Anselmo, Fairfax, Tiburon, Belvedere and Strawberry. 

If Marin Transit does not accept the contract, it would lead to "the loss of the now seamless, integrated bus services that are relied upon by millions of customers, coupled with the potential loss of 125 GGT jobs," Golden Gate officials said in a release.

The current contract has GGBHTD geting 65 percent of Marin Transit's operating budget. Golden Gates carries 92 percent of Marin Transit’s customers.

According to the Marin Independent Journal, Marin Transit could save $1 million and expand bus service in Novato and Tiburon with a private operator by offering less employee benefits.

The Marin Transit Board of Directors, which includes Marin County supervisors and city officials from San Rafael, Novato and Mill Valley, will discuss the new contract at 10 a.m. on Sept. 17 in Room 330 at the Marin Civic Center.

Does this affect you? What are your thoughts about it? Add a comment below.

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Linda Schnell September 13, 2012 at 07:40 PM
I would prefer the contract stay where it is with no layoffs to the Golden Gate Transit bus drivers who have been providing excellent service for as long as I can remember going back 30 years..... and longer. NO LAY OFFS LINDA AVELINO SCHNELL
Bob September 14, 2012 at 01:48 PM
My first thought is this another way to force high density housing along the Hwy 101 corridor? It seems to fir in with the "One Bay Area" plan.
Rebecca Lack September 14, 2012 at 02:44 PM
What will happen with the GGT routes that go from Sonoma Co to San Francisco? I assume that is a separate partial contract with Sonoma Co Transit?
BRIAN O'CONNOR September 14, 2012 at 03:30 PM
GREAT, LET'S SCREW THE DRIVER'S, THEY GET TO MUCH IN BENIFITS. LET'S HIRE SOME SCABS. FORGET HOW GOOD THE SYSTEM IS NOW, LET'S HIRE MORE SUPERVISOR'S WHO DON'T DRIVE
Brant September 14, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Readers may recall that Golden Gate Transit took over the Marin bus operation from Greyhound. To smooth the transfer and be fair to drivers, they agreed to continue to employ the Greyhound drivers. They then hired additional drivers. Unfortunately for GGT, the Greyhound drivers were all very senior and at the very top of the Greyhound pay scale. The new drivers were very junior and at the very bottom of the new GGT pay scale. They went on strike for wages equal to the very high wages being paid to the ex-Greyhound drivers. Management caved to the demand. GGT has been a high cost operator ever since.
Roger September 14, 2012 at 04:00 PM
The trend to reform "government" employee fat benefits is a step being taken everywhere. The Germans forced the Greeks to cut back on their fat benefits. Even Governor Brown took reforms steps on State employee pensions. Why should Marin's bus system be special? Polls show now California voters prefer spending cuts over higher taxes.

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