Fri­day Tran­sit Ses­sion Fo­cuses On The Fu­ture

Escalon Times - - FRONT PAGE - By MARG JACKSON mjack­son@escalon­times.com

A nearly three-hour ses­sion on the fu­ture of tran­sit in Escalon fea­tured sev­eral sug­ges­tions but no firm de­ci­sions on Fri­day.

The gath­er­ing of city of­fi­cials, tran­sit agen­cies, county lead­ers, lo­cal EMS and li­brary of­fi­cials and more was hosted by Escalon Tran­sit Co­or­di­na­tor John An­doh, who said the goal is to make sure tran­sit needs in the city are met, but with more ef­fi­ciency in the fu­ture.

A power point pre­sen­ta­tion of­fered by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Jar­ret Walker As­so­ciates pro­vided an over­view of the cur­rent tran­sit sys­tem (eTrans) in Escalon and fo­cused on rider use, costs and more.

Look­ing for­ward, noted An­doh, the city could choose to im­ple­ment Uber, Lyft or other op­tions for trans­porta­tion in the ru­ral ar­eas of the city or for af­ter­hours use.

The ser­vice model hasn’t been de­fined yet, of­fi­cials said, but the trans­porta­tion ‘sum­mit’ was a step in the right di­rec­tion.

“In con­cept, we could re­place buses with sub­si­dized Uber rides, that’s ba­si­cally out­sourc­ing Dial-A-Ride at a much lower cost,” An­doh noted.

Fund­ing for the city’s tran­sit ser­vice comes from many dif­fer­ent sources, from the Fed­eral Tran­sit Ad­min­is­tra­tion to San Joaquin County Mea­sure K funds, the Cal­i­for­nia LTF (Lo­cal Trans­porta­tion Fund) to rider fares.

“The bulk of our fund­ing comes from ex­ter­nal sources,” An­doh told those at­tend­ing the ses­sion, adding the fares make up a very min­i­mal per­cent­age of the to­tal sys­tem bud­get.

An­doh said com­ments and sug­ges­tions gath­ered at the Fri­day ses­sion will

be uti­lized to come up with a ‘game plan’ that will be taken to the Escalon City Coun­cil, prob­a­bly in late April or early May.

It’s also about see­ing what the coun­cil wants to pro­vide for its res­i­dents, An­doh said, with the ul­ti­mate goal to bal­ance the rider­ship and cov­er­age of all routes.

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