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Bus service blooms in Ripon

Blossom Express starts twice-a-week service

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Bus service blooms in Ripon

Few riders rode the Blossom Express during its first week in service.

VINCE REMBULAT/The Bulletin


POSTED March 8, 2013 1:40 a.m.

The 35-foot Compressed Natural Gas transit bus still had that new-car smell.

After months of anticipation, the Blossom Express was off and running this week. Ridership may have been sparse, but the bus, for the most part, ran its fixed schedule on time.

“It’ll get better once people become aware of us,” said Rita Holquin, who is the San Joaquin Regional Transit District operator of the bus that links the downtown area to that of the Chesapeake Landing / Save Mart shopping just east of Freeway 99.

On Thursday, she made the once-a-week run to Modesto, stopping off conveniently in front of the food court area of the Vintage Faire Mall.

The Blossom Express was off and running last Tuesday, taking a handful of riders to the other side of town.

Not lost on that inaugural run was Mayor Dean Uecker, who saw the transit bus in operation from his place of business thanks to his wife.

“She was excited about it,” he said at the Ripon City Council meeting.

Uecker was equally enthused, in turn, asking his colleagues to join him on taking a ride on the new transit. According to one city staffer, they’re scheduled to do just that at 9 a.m. Tuesday, hailing the bus from the Senior Center stop, 433 S. Wilma Ave.

The Blossom Express – known also as the Ripon Short Range Transit Plan – was made possible by the Congestion Mitigation grant and Air Quality and Measure K Renewal funding. The money here also covers operating expenses for the first three years.

Services were on time during that second day of operation. Soon after returning from Modesto, Holquin closed out that extended run, from the 700 block of West Main Street, Senior Center, Bethany Manor and Bethany Town Square at the exact time as listed on the fixed route.

The Blossom Express departure schedule is as followed:

• Ripon Elementary School, 700 block of West Main Street, 9 a.m., 9:45, 10:47, 11:35, Tuesdays; 9:02 a.m., 10:59, 12:40 p.m., Thursdays.

• Senior Center, 433 S. Wilma Ave., 9:06 a.m., 9:39, 10:51, 11:35, Tuesdays; 9:06 a.m., 11:03, 12:44 p.m., Thursdays.

• Bethany Manor, 200 block of Wilma Avenue, 9:13 a.m., 9:56, 10:58, 11:42, Tuesdays; 9:13 a.m., 11:10, 12:48 p.m., Thursdays.

• Bethany Town Square, 1360 Nikkel Way, 9:20 a.m., 10:05, 11:08, 11:50, Tuesdays; 9:20 a.m., 11:19, 12:55 p.m., Thursdays.

• Chesapeake Landing, Calhoun Avenue, 9:29 a.m., 10:14, 11:28, Tuesdays; 9:29 a.m., 10:50, 12:32 p.m., Thursdays.

• Save Mart shopping center, 1400 block of Goodwin Drive, 9:38 a.m., 10:40, 11:23, Tuesdays; 9:38 a.m., 10:44, 11:30, 12:25 p.m., Thursdays.

• Vintage Faire Mall, Modesto, 10:19 a.m., 11:54, Thursdays.

In addition, the bus meets all ADA requirements, and is equipped with passenger lifts for mobility devices. Mobilized scooters are not permitted.

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