Santa Rosa resident Andrew Smith has an honest question. Why do Santa Rosa and Sonoma County have separate bus systems. Wouldn’t it save money to combine them? Here’s his letter.

The Press Democrat had two columns recently on the city of Santa Rosa’s bus system. One was Santa Rosa finding itself as having a 54% excess capacity for buses and selling four buses to Gardena. Then a second column on buying four new diesel buses as there were issues with the hybrid buses purchased.

Since moving to Santa Rosa in 2010 from San Jose, I was surprised to see a separate bus system for Santa Rosa and Sonoma County. Yet San Jose did not have a separate bus system from the county it is located in as all of the Bay Area counties have one bus system run by a single transit agency.

So why not combine the two bus systems to save on overhead when tax dollars to subsidize public transportation is needed? I have tried to find an answer to this question recently from the Santa Rosa city council but it has fallen on deaf ears. Same with Sonoma Transit. — Andrew Smith, Santa Rosa

New York Times Wheels columnist Jim Motavalli also is thinking outside the box. Since outdoor pay phones are all but obsolete, why not turn them into electric vehicle chargers?

“Consider New York’s public pay telephones,” he writes. “They may be outdated in the digital age, but they have telephone wiring and are often supplied with electricity. More important, they already occupy precious city real estate — and already have the permits necessary to stay there. Is it possible to imagine some of them seamlessly replaced with electric vehicle charging stations, with vital dedicated parking spaces?

“There would be some hurdles — mostly made of red tape — to be overcome but bottom line is it’s possible with each pay phone having two or three parking spaces in front. Of course, there’s another factor involved: how many electric vehicles will really be hitting the streets of Gotham?”

Read the full story here.


Follow the Road Warrior on Twitter @PDRoadWarrior.