Frequently Asked Questions
For the first time in twenty years, there is an opportunity to elect a new AC Transit Director in Ward 5. I have more than 20 years of professional experience in transit services and now is the time for me to serve the community. My goals are to work to provide the people of Ward 5 with reliable and cost-effective AC Transit services that hopefully provide an alternative to driving. I know people issues and work issues in transit services very well. I will like to serve the community better way because I care about the community. My career with BART has prepared me for the challenges of setting policies for the complex transit systems to better serve my community.
I have been following the actions and improvements in AC Transit over the last 5 years. My background gives me insight in the needs facing both transit riders and workers. While there have been improvements in AC Transit, they did not reflect much in Ward 5. For example, AC Transit bought 210 new buses in the East Bay and also replaced 96 buses. These new buses are not only meeting ridership demands but are helping reduce carbon emission, so our region can meet its climate goals. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) projects and AC GO changes are in other Wards but not in South County/Fremont. As Director I will pursue ways to invest in greater transit and bus services for my community.
I ride AC Transit twice a week and sometimes on the weekend. I would ride it more but there is very limited service and routes in Ward 5.
Riders will choose transit (buses) when they feel that it is as reliable and convenient as driving their cars. Over the last decade, traffic congestion and commute times have become unbearable for many Bay Area residents. Those that live in the denser parts of my Ward and the Region are seeing AC Transit as a cheaper, more convenient way to get to their destination. As a director, I will steer investment to increase the reliability and frequency of bus service. The investments from RM3 signaled a new direction from funding highway and automobile improvements to funding transit options. I will continue to advocate for this new direction in any future campaign to increase transit funding.
Choice riders could also be convinced to ride AC Transit because of environmental concerns. Reaching our emissions goals as a region and a state requires us to pursue ways to take cars off the road.
I am a fan of current Transbay service as it takes cars off the road and relieves some of the congestion on the Bay Bridge. However, current transbay routes primarily service riders outside of Ward 5. How do you think its ridership can increase? If we could dedicate lanes for buses, transbay service would be far more attractive to riders. How that happens is another discussion. With tolls increasing in the future because of RM3, riders may opt to use transbay service as it becomes a significantly cheaper alternative. Do you think the ten double-decker buses ordered for this service is a good idea? Increasing capacity (the number of seats) helps, but only if the old system is at capacity.
I am satisfied with this direction for the new fleet. The roll-out perhaps is too slow, but that is an issue of competing priorities and resources. What kind of priority do you feel should be given to expanding beyond the maximum 24 fuel-cell buses that the “pilot” system can eventually accommodate, and/or battery-electric or hybrid or alternative fuel buses, so that zero-emission vehicles begin to comprise more than a token, “bragging point” portion of AC’s fleet? New zero-emission buses need to become the norm. I will advocate for the new $100M investment from RM3 to accelerate the purchasing of zero-emission fleet, pending the litigation of course.
Discount programs for youth, seniors, disabled, and low-income riders are a necessity and I will continue to advocate for these as director. East Bay Paratransit has issues with wages and workers that I will work to improve. Our workers make the system run and we must provide competitive wages. Expanding the FLEX program to provide on-demand service could also help to improve service to these riders.
Providing reliable and frequent service is the best marketing. However, I am encouraged by AC Transit’s use of Twitter and other social media to be more responsive to the needs of riders.
I approve of the changes made through AC GO that simplified routes and increased frequency of service. However, like many improvements and changes, this happened outside of Ward 5.
I have received the endorsements of nineteen (19) elected officials so far:
- Fremont City Councilmembers Rick Jones, David Bonaccorsi, and Raj Salwan,
- President of Fremont Unified School District Dr Yang Shao,
- Fremont Mayor Lily Mei,
- ACWD Director Aziz Akbari,
- Union Sanitary Director Manny Fernandez,
- Union City City Councilmember Gary Singh,
- Newark City Councilmember Mike Bucci,
- New Haven Unified School Board Directors Sharan Kaur and Sarabjit Cheema
- Planning Commissioners Harpal Mann & Harris Mojadedi,
- AC Transit Directors Mark Williams and Joel Young
- Federation of Indo-Americans of North America (FIA),
Dr. Japra Chair,
Shriguru Ravidass Sabha (Bay Area)
- Jim Navarro, Former City Councilmember Union City
My deep involvement with the Fremont Sikh community, my experience working with unions and their members, and my past campaign all prepare me to serve on the AC Transit Board.