VTA offered free rides systemwide on all buses and trains until about 5 a.m. Jan. 1, said Brandi Childress, spokeswoman for VTA.
"We wanted to make it easy for people to try our service and really say thank you for the patience everyone has had as we roll out our newly-designed transit service," Childress said.
"As we were preparing for the new BART system, we knew this would be a good opportunity to look at the system and find areas where we can improve frequency and connect bus routes that would help the regional service," Childress said.
VTA's new "frequent routes" plan has 20 bus and light rail routes said to pick up every 15 minutes or less during weekdays at stops throughout the county.
"This is the most significant transit service change that VTA has implemented since 2008," VTA said in a news release. "Not only has service been redesigned to accommodate the addition of BART service, but it will give more people more frequent and reliable transit options."
The change was made with community input over 18 months and will shift low ridership routes so that 90% of the service is focused on high ridership areas, according to VTA.
Silicon Valley residents still await Santa Clara County BART extensions to BART's Berryessa and Milpitas stations, which were supposed to open before the new year and have since been deferred without a new opening day.
VTA began running bus routes to the would-be extensions on Saturday, Dec. 28.
More info on the new service routes can be found at newservice.vta.org.
—Bay City News Service
State Senate candidates to discuss climate crisis
A coalition of local environmental nonprofits have organized a forum to be held on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at which local voters can get more information on how District 13 state Senate candidates stand on environmental issues.
The nonpartisan forum is scheduled for 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the Menlo-Atherton High School performing arts center at 555 Middlefield Road. Admission is free, though people are encouraged to register.
District 13 covers the Peninsula between South San Francisco and Sunnyvale, including the Coastside. There are seven candidates: Josh Becker, Michael Brownrigg, Sally Lieber, Shelly Masur, Annie Oliva, Alexander Glew and John Webster. All but Webster are expected to attend the forum.
Participating candidates will provide opening statements, then respond to questions from the event's cosponsors: 350 Silicon Valley, Acterra, Citizens' Climate Lobby, and Sustainable San Mateo County. There will also be questions from the audience.
Other supporting organizations are Canopy, Carbon Free Silicon Valley, Climate Reality-Santa Clara County, Cool Block Palo Alto, Cool Planet First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto, Elders Climate Action-NorCal, Fossil Free Mid-Peninsula, Friends of Caltrain, Friends of Edgewood Natural Preserve, Friends of Huddart & Wunderlich Parks, Peninsula Interfaith Climate Action, Sea Hugger, Sustainable Silicon Valley, Sunrise Movement-Palo Alto Hub, Thrive Alliance of Nonprofits in San Mateo County, and Youth Climate Action Network.
Register online for the event at eventbrite.com/e/california-senate-district-13-climate-and-environment-forum-tickets-83574199681.
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