The lack of a bus stop in front of the Turlock Library continues to be a major point of contention with residents of Turlock as the issue was brought up multiple times during a public meeting held Thursday to discuss the city’s transit system.
Fusion Charter teacher Randy Heinrichs said that he recently took one of his high school classes on a field trip to the library. They caught the Number 5 bus a block away from the school, on the corner of Lander and Linwood avenues, and rode it to the downtown stop at Golden State and Main Street, where they then had to walk seven blocks to the library.
“It’s a deal-breaker when you have a lot of books to carry home to hoof it,” said Heinrichs about the chances of any of his students would take the bus to the library in the future.
Heinrichs was just one member of the community to express concern about limited access to the library via Turlock Transit.
Transportation Engineering Supervisor Wayne York said changes made to Route 4 in March now offer a closer a stop to the library, at the corner of Canal Drive and Main Street, but that the City is looking into a way to bring back direct service to the popular bus stop that served both the Turlock Library and Turlock Senior Center up until this year.
The City of Turlock held two meetings on Thursday in order to inform residents about the recent changes made to the bus system and future transit plans, as well as receive feedback from the public.
Over the past several months the City of Turlock has implemented a number of changes to the City’s bus system, from installing new electronic fare boxes to extending service hours and a complete overhaul of the bus routes.
York said the changes were implemented in an effort to satisfy state farebox recovery requirements. Municipalities now have to show that 20 percent of their transit system’s operating expenses are met by fares paid by passengers in order to qualify for state transportation funding.
To meet that requirement, the City could either raise the price of bus tickets or increase the number of fares. York said the City chose to focus on attracting new riders.
“If we don’t meet that standard, we won’t be able to provide service in the future. We developed a transit system that meets the needs of current riders and attracts new riders,” said York.
According to York, the changes made were in response of public input to: improve on-time performance, increase operating hours, shorten time of average trip and provide bi-directional service.
“We’re really trying to be responsive to the needs of the community,” said York.
Other requests made at Thursday’s early meeting included adding Sunday service and closer stops the Turlock Irrigation District office on Canal Drive and the U.S. Post Office on East Main Street.
Heinrichs asked if it would be possible to get a bus shelter at the Lander and Linwood location, as the stop now just has a pole. He also requested, on behalf of his students, that the City consider discounting daily fares for local children who use the bus to get to school every day.
York said the City is continually working on upgrading its transit service. Future improvements include adding more bus shelters with safety lighting, purchasing additional buses to avoid service disruptions and the installation of new technology on every bus that making tracking fares and routes much easier.
The City will also soon be moving forward with the long-awaited construction of an operations facility at the site of the Turlock Transit Center, on the corner of Golden State Boulevard and Fulkerth Road.
The 6,092-square foot, single story office building will have office space for City transit operations, ticketing window, lobby with public restrooms and unimproved cold shell space. The project also includes: three shade structures, with approximate covered areas of 3,800 square feet, 1,200 square feet and 1,800 square feet constructed over existing passenger waiting areas; installation of photovoltaic arrays; a 77-space concrete parking lot; and site improvements, such as site lighting, landscaping and pedestrian facilities.
The City put the project out to bid on Thursday. York said the anticipated project completion date would be spring 2018.