Advisory Board Meeting - March 9, 2009Home » About MWRTA » Advisory Board Meeting - March 9, 2009
- Date: 3/09/2009
- Time: 4:00 p.m.
MetroWest Regional Transit Authority
Monday, March 9, 2009
The Metrowest Regional Transit Authority Advisory Board meeting was held on March 9, 2009 at 4:00 p.m., at the maintenance and operations facility of the MWRTA, located at 160 Waverley Street, Framingham, MA, at the call of Chairman John Stasik, Framingham. Mr. Stasik asked for a roll call of communities. In attendance were; Edward Carr, Administrator, Charles Stevenson, Counsel, Brian Herr, Hopkinton, Chris Peck, Sherborn, Joe Nolan, Wayland, Phil Jack, Ashland, Betty Solderholm, Southborough, Karen Kisty, Marlborough and Carl Damigella, Holliston. A quorum was declared. Mr. Peck made a motion to waive the reading of the previous minutes; it was seconded by Mr. Damigella, and approved unanimously. Ms. Kisty made a motion to approve the previous minutes; it was seconded by Mr. Damigella, and approved with the exception of Phil Jack, Ashland, Brian Herr, Hopkinton and Joe Nolan, Wayland, who abstained.
· Fixed Route Service:
The Route 1 Green Line Project is ready to launch. The Advisory Board must vote to approve the fares. This will occur under New Business.
FY09 Suburban Mobility Grant Application will be discussed under Other Business.
The Charlie Card Interoperability Project with the MBTA, which is a pilot program that will allow riders on the route 1 service to use their Charlie Card to pay for fares and purchase passes as well, is about to begin.
· Demand Response:
The sad and untimely passing of Mr. Bob Rizzo, the Manager of the MBTA’s RIDE program, has resulted in a two-week set-back in the working meetings with the MBTA staff. .
Half of the MW RIDE vehicles have been received. Mr. Carr is working with Thompson Transit to finalize the contract and develop the new MW RIDE.
Dial-A-Ride has begun in Wayland. Discussions are occurring with Ashland to expand service and in Sherborn to begin service.
Paul Spooner and the Consumer Advisory Committee have begun meeting. The CAC has created a separate Task Force to provide user input for the transition to the MW RIDE.
MWRTA Staff made a presentation on Travel Training to the AARP at the Framingham Callahan Center. More Travel Training will be planned and is available to COA’s of all member towns.
Public hearings were held on the Greenline Route 1 Project that produced positive feedback from attendees.
Negotiations for the facility at 37 Waverley St., Framingham should be finalized this week. Further discussion will be under Old Business.
The promotional cable TV project with Natick’s cable television, Pegasus, is scheduled to be released shortly.
Comments on the Administrator’s Report:
Mr. Stasik asked about the difference between the Smart Card and the Charlie Card. Mr. Carr stated that they are the same. Discussion occurred on how this will work. It may take up to two years before the system is fully integrated. However, it’s hoped that the Charlie Card implementation for Route 1 will occur in the next few months.
Mr. Stasik asked about the RIDE Transition Task Force. Mr. Carr explained that this is made up of members of the CAC. The purpose is to get consumer input during the transition process. Karen Dempsey is chairing the Task Force; other members were named.
Mr. Jack, Mr. Peck and Mr. Nolan praised the work that the RTA has done with the COA’s of their respective towns to create and improve demand-response service. Mr. Carr stated that services to Marlborough and Southborough are doing well, with the assistance of Ms. Kisty. Mr. Carr is planning on increased interaction with the COA’s of other towns within the RTA.
Mr. Peck made a motion to change the CAC term length from two years to one year (Section 1.3, paragraph 4). It was seconded by Mr. Nolan and approved unanimously.
Mr. Nolan made a motion to change the language of Section 1.6 regarding the definition of a quorum to include a weighted vote in addition to the >50% requirement. It was seconded by Mr. Stasik and approved unanimously.
Mr. Damigella requested an amendment to have all contact between member towns and the RTA be directed through each Town’s RTA representative.
Mr. Peck made a motion to accept the by-laws with the two motions listed above, with the thought that the by-laws can by amended to include Mr. Damigella’s request at a future time. It was seconded by Mr. Damigella and approved unanimously.
· New Facility at 37 Waverley St.:
Mr. Carr recapped the need to look for another facility that has a lease with an option to buy. Mr. Carr will use Economic Stimulus money to fund the project for studying the Waverley St. property.
Mr. Jack expressed concern about getting into a 5-year lease when it is not known whether the property would be purchased. Mr. Carr explained that it could be a 3-year lease-or-buy with an option to lease for two more years.
Mr. Damigella made a motion to allow Mr. Carr to enter into a lease with an option to buy. It was seconded by Mr. Nolan.
Ms. Ginger Esty, a member of the MPO, raised a number of questions, including the need for a detailed explanation of how the $750K will be used, and whether this building was the best choice. Mr. Stasik commented that the RTA must be moved out of its current location by May. Mr. Jack would like a provision that if the studies come back with unsuitable results, that the lease could be terminated after three years, and that if it’s an environmentally unsafe building, that the lease could be immediately voided. There was additional discussion about environmental and safety testing.
After discussion ended, the motion was amended to include Mr. Jack’s provisions. The new motion was as follows; to allow Mr. Carr to enter into a lease with an option to buy, with an inclusion that states that if the studies come back with unsuitable environmental results, that the lease could be terminated after 3 years, and that if it’s determined that it is an environmentally unsafe building, that the lease could be terminated immediately.
The motion passed unanimously.
· Disabled Community Representative:
As Mr. Shapiro had resigned, Mr. Jack will look for another representative. This will be on the agenda for the next meeting.
· Route 1 Fares
Mr. Carr proposed a fare structure of $3 for a complete trip and $1.50 for a half trip. Outreach has been done and the fee structure has been well received by riders. Discussion details included:
- transfers passes and multiple ticket discounts
- consistency with other fares
- the cost benefits over driving and parking
- coordination with Newton Wellesley Hospital
- tickets to eventually be replaced by the Charlie Card
- fare revenue typically accounts for 30% of the actual cost of running public transportation
- the route is subsidized by a grant from the Mobility Assistance Program
Mr. Peck made a motion to accept the fare structure as outlined. The motion was seconded by Ms. Solderholm and approved unanimously.
· Suburban Mobility Grant Application Discussion
Mr. Belcher of the CTPS gave the following information:
- some of the $650K of this year’s funds is already allocated for the second and third years of currently approved projects, leaving $130K for new projects
- to date, ten competitive proposals have been received from public entities and more are expected
To maximize the RTA’s chances of receiving a grant, Mr. Belcher recommended a combination of two of the eight options that the RTA is considering.
- in Marlborough, add Saturday service on Route 7
- in Framingham, add Sunday service to Route 3.
- plus the potential addition of off-peak (evening) service
This expanded current service would require no additional capital and would be viewed favorably by the Suburban Mobility Program.
Mr. Carr agreed with Mr. Belcher’s assessment. Additional discussion regarding current and potential plans included:
- a future route going along Rt. 20 from Wayland to east Marlborough
- the RTA possibly picking up some of the service from private commuter carriers who are no longer being funded by the State
- the list of eight options being a “to do” list for potential service
- possibly using the MBTA assessment money to fund some of the other six options
- a report to the towns to show how their MBTA assessments are being used for services provided to their town
Mr. Damigella made a motion that Mr. Carr submit a proposal to the SMP to increase service on Routes 7 and 3 as discussed. The motion was seconded by Ms. Solderholm and approved unanimously.
It was also noted that Mr. Belcher is working on a separate service study for the RTA.
Questions and comments from the audience:
Ms. Esty asked about funds for specialized equipment that the RTA needs to purchase for its vehicles. Mr. Carr stated that the new vehicles being purchased come with this equipment already installed. If more is needed he will access federal funding for it.
There was a brief discussion about rumors and fears surrounding the coming change from the MBTA RIDE to the MW RIDE. Mr. Carr said that they are working diligently to make sure that the new service is the same as the MBTA’s program.
The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 6, 2009.
A motion to adjourn was made by Ms. Solderholm at 5:30 p.m.; it was seconded by Mr. Damigella, and approved unanimously.
The undersigned being the duly qualified clerk of the MetroWest Regional Transit Authority Advisory Board, acknowledges that the foregoing minutes accurately reflect the actions taken at a legally convened meeting of the Advisory Board held on March 9, 2009.
Carl Damigella, Holliston