A ubiquitous commercial of years gone by featured the motto, “Leave the driving to us.” Once a dominant feature on highways throughout the United States and Canada, the distinctive Greyhound Bus logo and sentiment remains as a viable and affordable method for long distance travel for people and packages. The motto implied that once passengers bought a ticket and boarded a Greyhound, a group of professionals would handle their comfort, safety and transportation needs from start to finish. Counter and scheduling personnel in support of experienced drivers would assure a pleasant experience… the premise of all commercial mass transit organizations. Passengers relinquish details of how this is accomplished in exchange for use of management systems and vehicles to transport them from a boarding location to a pre-determined destination.
Unless separated for comfort or service, all travelers – front or back – reach their destination at the same time and under the same conditions. While in transit, the ultimate authority of direction and speed is assigned to the driver (or pilot). Details may be of interest, but not essential passenger information for completion of the trip. While liberating for those who prefer to simply enjoy the ride without regard to particular intermediate considerations, a journey of any duration demands attention to particulars and modifications necessary to reach the destination.
Many private and civic projects share the same organizational and operational challenges of a Greyhound Bus trip. One such journey is the on again, off again Dumbarton Rail Corridor project that proposes to create an alternative transit link between the East Bay and Peninsula using Commuter Rail, Light Rail, Autonomous Vehicles or Bus Rapid Transit. On the books for 15+ years, now, with funding and impetus from Facebook, peninsula transit authorities have been meeting, planning and designing alternative routes and stations for this service. Routes, commercial and residential developments and traffic considerations are paramount to placement options, deeply affecting Fremont, Newark and Union City.
Although meetings have reportedly been held with city staff of Fremont, Newark and Union City to coordinate alignment details and development, little information has reached the East Bay public. This is understandable due to the global pandemic, but it is time to inform residents, especially during formative stages of the project. When planning such a massive venture, it is prudent to introduce the concept for public scrutiny as quickly as possible to receive input before alternatives are solidified. Public outreach is anticipated to begin in Spring of this year. Have plans been presented to local Planning Commissions, City Councils and the Fremont Mobility Commission? Have these officials been briefed and provided input?
In a project of this importance and influence, will our cities be passengers or drivers?
For more information, visit: www.samtrans.com/Planning/Planning_and_Research/Dumbarton_Rail_Corridor.html