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Ripon leaders seek input on bus expansion

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POSTED October 13, 2013 11:18 p.m.

The Blossom Express is expected to feature some new and improved transit service come Nov. 5.

On Tuesday, the Ripon City Council will conduct a public hearing on the matter during the 7 p.m. open session in the Council Chambers.

Included for consideration are modifications to the existing bus routes and time schedules along with some of the existing time-stop locations coupled with some soft-stop areas.

Mitzi Johnston and Barbara Schneider from the City of Ripon recently spearheaded a public workshop on the bus service that began March 5, with initial runs limited to Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The new schedule will continue on those two days but with some changes, including:

•The Blossom Express will make four continuous round-trip loops beginning in Ripon, traveling to Modesto, and returning to Ripon; such trips are planned for the morning and the afternoon, with each round-trip cycle taking an hour in order to permit increased flexibility for all riders.

•The new service will include Blossom Express stops to help link riders to the Regional Transit District (Route 91, providing service north to Manteca and Stockton) and the Modesto Area Express (MAX) with two hubs to provide services throughout Modesto and the other to Escalon’s E-trans bus service.

•Blossom Express added Kaiser Permanente Hospital and Kaiser Permanente Clinic on Dale Road coupled with one additional stop to the Target Shopping Center.

•All bus stops will have signage and will be ADA compliant.

As for the timed and soft stops, the timed stops call for the driver to pull over, stop, and wait until the designated departure time.

The soft stop has the driver pulling over and stopping but only for if a passenger wishes to disembark or board the bus at that location.

Any deviated route reservation must be made in advance. The driver will need a one-day advanced notice.

Johnston and Schneider indicated that new bus routes will operate under a deviated fixed route, in turn, qualifying under Federal regulations as Demand Responsive, thereby not requiring para-transit service.

In addition, riders can expect to continue paying the same rates despite the expanded bus services. That’s due largely to all operational costs for Blossom Express being covered 100 percent by Measure K funding.

Elected leaders will also conduct public hearing seeking an appeal to the Planning Commission action on the approved major site review – in this case, 1595 W. Santos Ave. and 1525 W. Santos Ave.

For more information, call Ripon City Hall at 209-599-2108 or log on to www.cityofripon.org.

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