The Santa Clara VTA Riders Union

About Us
The riders union includes anybody and everybody who uses, or works for, the Santa Clara County public transit. We are a group composed of tech-workers in Silicon Valley, students, caretakers, government employees, doctors, lawyers and everyone in between who work hard to keep Santa Clara County running.

As a part of a union, we work as activists in order to improve life for everyone by helping to improve public transit. Because we use the county buses and light-rail systems, we know what kinds of problems there are with the mass transit in our county. We wonder, is it even worth it, or should I go back to commuting to work on the congested highways? Whether it’s a canceled bus line, a light-rail car that does not stop at a certain crowded station, or inconvenient scheduling, there are many things getting in the way of people who choose to take mass transportation in Santa Clara County.

The Santa Clara VTA Riders Union was first firmed in in October of 2000. Tired of being ignored by government officials on concerns about the lack of drivers and mechanics servicing Santa Clara Count, a group of concerned citizens sought out an organization solely dedicated to the improvement of buses and light rail services in Santa Clara County. It was only after failing to find this group that the Santa Clara VTA Riders Union was born. The Santa Clara VTA Riders Union remains the only organization in the area dedicated to improving our county’s mass transportation. We hope you will join us in our cause to improve mass transit for Santa Clara Valley.

How do I get involved?
The only real chance anybody has to really improve buses and light-rail services in Santa Clara County is to get involved in local politics. The best way to do this and get our voice heard is be part of a union: a larger group of people all dedicated to one goal. If you want to see bus and light-rail services improved in Santa Clara valley, join our union.

If you don’t want to join the union, or feel like you do not have the time, attend a VTA Board meeting and voice your concerns. These meetings are typically held at the first Thursday of every month. Inform the Board of Directors at the VTA all about the urgent need to improve mass transportation in Santa Clara County. If you cannot make it to the Board meetings, you can always call or email the VTA Board and voice your concerns that way. Every contact you make to your local VTA Board member to insist on better better bus and light-rail helps to improve the service for everyone.

You may be wondering what the VTA Riders Union has gotten accomplished over the past two years. To answer your questions, here is a general overview of some of the things we have done in the past, and we hope you will join us as we accomplish our goals in the future.

2005 Accomplishments
In January, we spoke to transit riders and encouraged them to voice their concerns against the proposed budget cuts the VTA had planned. As a result, of our campaigning, the service along line 22 has been continued. Our campaigning in conjunction with the public made it possible for the VTA’s rapid bus-line to continue running daily between the hours of 5:30am and 8:00pm.

In March, we helped elderly and disabled users of the mass transit with their transit rights, and ensured that they retained services with the non-profit group OUTREACH.

The Union in 2004
Since 2003, we have successfully created a “public transit guide book” for the Visitors’ center, and 2004’s guide book was our most successful guide book yet.
In Spring time, one of our members was appointed to be a member of the Measure B committee. In the fall, a member of our group was appointed to be the Director of an advocacy group and to be a member of the Transportation Authority’s Citizen Committee.

In the Fall of 2004, we also successfully lobbied the Transportation Authority’s Policy Board in order to garner support for the County’s Grand Jury recommendation to restructure the VTA’s Committee of Directors, and also to delay the construction of the Route 11 extension to stop the bankruptcy of the VTA.

This October, with help from the local newspaper, we successfully halted the VTA’s attempt to spend and waste almost $8 million of tax-payer dollars on an outside public relation’s firm, as well as East Coast based lobbying firms. We were able to get an online article published which extensively detailed all of the the out-of-state government lobbying groups that would have reaped the benefits from this waste of tax-payer dollars.

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