Public transportation around Turlock is set to start making major changes starting in January with the City Council’s approval of a new short range transit plan.
The Turlock City Council unanimously approved the new plan to be in effect through the 2021 fiscal year. The new plan aims to change current permanent bus routes, alter current fare boxes and methods of payment for public transport, replace outdated buses from the current fleet and even rename and rebrand from Turlock Transit Lines to Turlock Transit with the inclusion of new logos and bus designs.
Turlock’s Transit consultant, Nelson Nygaard, who assisted in putting together the new transit plan, worked on this project with three things in mind: Financial and operational sustainability, excellence in services provided, and innovation to continue to make a new and more efficient process.
In their creation of this new plan, numerous steps were taken in order to form a comprehensive assessment of the most needed and most important corrections to the routes. Several surveys were taken from bus riders throughout the 10-month process at all times of the day to ensure the most effective sampling.
Riders were concerned mostly with bus arrival times, how late the busses ran, and service on Sundays. The new transit plan will include efficient ways to correct nearly all the problems brought to the surveyors’ attention.
With the formation of shorter new routes for buses to follow, riders can expect more accurate and on-time arrivals. After evaluating the number of riders getting on and off certain stops throughout the city, the plan added six new routes — five two-way and one loop route.
These new routes will improve the bus frequency to around 30 minutes and the buses will remain in service later throughout the week (6 a.m. – 9 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Saturdays). This would be accomplished by eliminating the low ridership stops, many of which sit west of Highway 99, and focus more on the larger arterial streets throughout the city. Riders will even be able to download an app on their smart phones to track how far out their bus is as well as estimated arrival time, similar to Uber or Lyft.
Turlock Transit will continue discounted monthly passes for the elderly and disabled, and the City may consider discounts for veterans and students in the future. With Stanislaus State being the only CSU that doesn’t have its own special public transportation pass, talks to make this possibility a reality are still under way.
This plan also will include the purchasing of four brand new busses to be added to the existing fleet, as well as a few smaller buses to be used as interim solutions for the older vehicles to be taken out of commission and upgraded.
“I appreciate the work and effort that went into this, said Councilmember Steven Nascimento. “I think it’s wise to be focusing on choice ridership. We really do have to make it easier and more convenient to ride the buses.”