Start a SMART reboot
At last, on July 13, trains rolled again with freight for North Bay ag and manufacturers. But revival of passenger service riding this pastoral intercity system waits forever on a transit project that has become unaffordable and dysfunctional.
We've lost 30 years' planting of our country's railroad hedgerows: strongest, most fecund, with beautiful safety separation between bike/pathways and swift, eventually electrified trains.
Now, its great board team kernel, with excellent interim executive hands and enough funds to fix basic operability from Larkspur (and Vallejo) ferries to Willits, may reboot SMART.
First, as legislation encouraged, invite in Napa and Solano, befitting the regional track legacy.
Second, do the basic market research survey (at last) of all intending users, to inform design-build rehabilitation, scalability and upgrade spending.
Third, adopt a new mission: 1) Run the asset, not the trains. 2) Set operating performance criteria. 3) Select best operator(s)-they'll bring the trains and operation of multiple popular services.
Don't' own equipment (cancel the 'boutique fleet' order, pay the penalty, a cheap lesson), or a personnel empire. Do partner on station and hub properties. Extend the new CEO search for regional railway, not transit experience. For good bike pathway and horticulture jobs, start a timely SMART reboot.