After close to eight months of research, data collecting, public outreach meetings and City leaders, including Mayor Gary Soiseth, riding the bus around town — the Turlock City Council is prepared to consider adopting major changes to Turlock's transit system.
Proposed changes include a new fixed-route design that reduces the overall coverage area of town, but increases service in primary areas. The new service would increase routes from four to six, with bi-directional service on most routes. Service hours would also be increased from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (existing) weekedays to 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. (proposed), with an increase on Saturdays from 10:10 a.m. to 4:10 p.m. (existing) to 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (proposed).
While an increase in base fares is not being recommended at this time, there are some proposed changes to the fare structure including eliminating transfer fees and increasing the age for free child riders from 0 to 3 years (existing) to 0 to 5 years (proposed).
The City is currently in discussions with representatives of the Associated Students, Inc. of Stanislaus State about adopting a University Transit Pass, that would allow students to have unlimited use of the transit system in exchange for annual payments from ASI to the City in the amount of $90,000 per year. Details of a possible agreement are still under review.
If the proposed changes are implemented, expenses are expected to increase $334,610 — from $811,579 to over $1.1 million. The bulk of the expected increases are related to the additional routes and service hours. Half of the proposed increase in expenses will be paid with federal operating funds, while the remaining half will be paid with a combination of Local Transportation Funds, State Transit Assistance funds and local revenue from fares and bus advertising.
"Our Council continues to place an emphasis on increasing bus ridership in Turlock," said Soiseth. "These new routes reflect not only the hard work of the City Hall staff and interns, but also the input of many community members. The changes will lead to better bus service for our seniors, our disabled, our students, our veterans, and our everyday rider."
Community members can learn more about the changes to transit services at wwwturlocktransit.com. Comments or suggestions can be sent directly to Wayne York, Transportation Engineering Supervisor, by mail (City of Turlock, Engineering Division, Attn: Wayne York, 156 S. Broadway, Suite 150, Turlock, CA 95380), by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by fax (209-668-5563).
The Turlock City Council will consider adopting the proposed changes to the City's transit system at their next meeting, set for 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 156 S. Broadway.
If adopted, the changes would be implemented on Jan. 1, 2017.