Turlock's bus system is in need of improvements. An October 2015 survey found that Bus Line Service of Turlock (BLAST) riders want later service, more routes on weekends and improved on-time service. The City of Turlock is working on making those changes — and possibly more.
Nelson/Nygaard Consulting has been gathering information about Turlock's current bus system and put together a few concepts on new routes and amenities. The consulting firm will present these findings and seek input from the community at three public forums scheduled on Thursday: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at MSR 130 on the campus of Stanislaus State; 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Turlock Regional Transit Center, 1418 N. Golden State Blvd.; and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the El Capitan room at City Hall.
"We took the information we received from the online survey and onboard survey, and with that we designed some different routing options and we're looking to get feedback from the community," said Nelson/Nygaard senior associate James Gamez.
The current BLAST system consists of four one-way loop routes that cover most of the city and operate every 45 minutes on weekdays and Saturdays.
Concept A consists of six routes connecting to the Turlock Regional Transit Center. Four routes would operate every 30 minutes and two routes would operate every 60 minutes. Downtown would be served by one 30-minute bi-directional route connecting to the Transit Center. Stanislaus State would be served by one 60-minute route. Retail and employment destinations along Countryside and Geer would be served every 30 minutes.
Concept B consists of four routes that operate every 30 minutes and connect to the Turlock Regional Transit Center. A fifth route would operate every 60 minutes and operate along the northern, eastern and southern edges of the city. Downtown would be served by a 30-minute one-way loop. Stanislaus State would be served by two routes. Retail and employment destinations along Countryside and Geer would be served every 30 minutes.
The consulting firm is also proposing the following immediate service changes:
- Later evening service and added Saturday service, with the last weekday trip beginning at 5:55 p.m., a full hour later than the current schedule of 4:55 p.m., and concluding at the transit center at 6:30 p.m. This may allow more work trips on BLAST, as revenue hours are increased. Though no additional trips are added in this change, layover time at the transit center will be standardized throughout the day, which will have a positive impact on reliability and on-time performance.
- Adding three trips to each route on Saturdays, decreasing the headway from 75/80 minutes to 40 minutes. Additionally, the Saturday schedule will be easier to read and understand.
A number of amenities may also be considered including upgrading bus stops with better information on routes and the addition of a public restroom at the Transit Center. Gamez said they are also proposing a name change, from Bus Line Service of Turlock to Turlock Transit.
"These are whole network concepts," said Gamez.
Following Thursday's public meetings, the consulting firm will use community input to draft one or two final proposals to present to the City Council for approval.
Implementation of new routes is expected to be completed sometime this fall, according to Wayne York, capital project coordinator for the City.
For more information about the proposed changes to Turlock's bus line, visit turlocktransit.com.