June 17, 2013

Improving county bus service

County officials plan to expand Stanislaus Regional Transit bus service to include the new job centers in Turlock and Patterson.

According to a new service plan, the county will extend Route 45 to serve Wal-Mart, the Amazon distribution center and Keystone Business Park in Patterson. The bus route serves Patterson, Newman, Gustine and Turlock. A route adjustment in Turlock will offer bus service to the Blue Diamond plant in the city’s west industrial area.

Transit officials believe employers such as Amazon and Blue Diamond create additional demand for bus service, though most employees are likely to take their own wheels to work. Transit officials are talking with the cities about good locations for new bus stops in Patterson and Turlock.

These and other changes are scheduled to take effect Aug. 5.

StaRT took over transportation service in Riverbank and Oakdale in January after ROTA dissolved, and now the county is planning a few changes. Starting in August, Riverbank and Oakdale each will have a Dial-a-Ride bus, allowing people to get around their respective cities faster. Monday through Saturday, the east-side shuttle will take passengers between Oakdale, Riverbank and Modesto.

Additional hours are planned for most of the express routes serving Modesto, Turlock and other communities, as well as the Waterford-Modesto shuttle. The plan includes improvements for shuttle and Dial-A-Ride services.

StaRT will distribute fliers and rider guides with details on the changes the first week in August. For help with navigating the bus system, people can use the Easy Rider Trip Planner or read the StaRT system maps at www.srt.org.

Every year, county transit officials update the service plan to make a claim for funding from the Stanislaus Council of Governments. The county’s claim goes to the StanCOG policy board Wednesday.

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