On June 25, the San Joaquin Regional Transit District started daily van rides to the city of Tracy and the San Joaquin Delta College - Mountain House campus, and plans are underway for a second route to Dublin’s BART station.
Although not too many residents are taking advantage of the Rural Connection pilot program from Mountain House to Tracy, RTD spokesman Paul Rapp said they are optimistic the numbers will go up.
“We’re averaging about four passengers per day,” he said, “with a high of seven on one day. That’s pretty good ridership for a brand new route with limited service.”
Rapp said they plan to market the service more through promotions on the Mountain House Forum website, and anticipate more riders will take advantage of it when students return to attend Delta’s fall classes in August.
The new Rural Connection route is part of a two year pilot program that costs $434,000, paid for by RTD and a Caltrans grant, Rapp said.
The new bus route takes riders from the Mountain House community at Wicklund Crossing, near DeAnza Boulevard to stops at Delta College, Walmart on Grant Line Road, and Park & Ride at Naglee Road.
“I think it’s really wonderful,” said Bernice King Tingle, Mountain House board of director’s president, who said she dreamed about such a service when she ran for office nearly a decade ago. “That’s what I was hoping for – transportation link from Mountain House to Tracy and outlying areas.”
Bus schedules for the new bus route are available on the county RTD website at www.sanjoaquinrtd.com/mobility.
Since the route is new and the current bus stop is nothing more than a parking area off of the middle of Wicklund Crossing, RTD officials are now looking into moving the bus stop to Wicklund Elementary School. Rapp said they are working with community officials to shape the service to best fit the needs of the community, and the school provides parking for bicycles and other amenities.
Now that RTD has one bus route in place, plans are now underway to consider offering transportation to the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station, Rapp said.
On July 5 RTD held a public meeting at the Wicklund Elementary School multipurpose room to see if there was an interest in the BART route and 25 residents were in attendance.
“The feedback I get is that people are hoping for that second link,” Tingle said. “I think it’s absolutely wonderful, a gateway here that allows commuters’ access to Pleasanton/Dublin.” She said residents are pleased that RTD is giving them the opportunity to voice their approval.
The one thing holding RTD back with the second route is whether or not there would be a sufficient number of riders to make the route fiscally beneficial, Rapp said.
Each RTD vehicle holds 50 passengers and if they could get a minimum of 30 riders per month, RTD would offer a $128 monthly pass to cover the $3825 cost to provide the service, he said. Those looking for a single ride can pay $1.50 for adults; and 75 cents for riders who are age 65 and older, Medicare card holders or Certificate of Eligibility card holders.
The Mountain House to BART route is tentatively slated to start on August 1, Rapp said, and they might have to pro-rate the fares accordingly for the first month or half-a-month to see if the ridership interest prevails. He said the route will be based upon interest by Mountain House residents and RTD is currently seeking ridership comments via email at Comments@sanjoaquinRTD.com.