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ACE riders may help lure employers

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The Manteca City Council might pursue a survey of ACE riders as a city goal in a bid to develop data to try and lure employers.

HIME ROMERO/Bulletin file photo/

POSTED March 28, 2017 12:53 a.m.

Manteca’s biggest drawing card to luring employers demanding a well-trained workforce may be among the 60,000 plus San Joaquin County commuters driving west over the Altamont Pass weekdays and the 1,420 people on average that catch ACE trains out of the Lathrop-Manteca station.
Manteca leaders believe it makes sense to arm those trying to market the city to potential employers that need tech workers and other skilled labor with hard data regarding commuters that spend hours traveling to and from work in the Bay Area each week.
Such data could include current employers and job duties, skills, pay, education, and experience. It might include “soft data” such as whether respondents would forsake the commute for jobs in Manteca that are in the ballpark of what they are currently paid.
A survey of Manteca commuters specifically was floated as a potential municipal goal during the City Council’s budget and goal workshop conducted Friday at the Manteca Transit Center.
Council members said they might favor a survey of Altamont Corridor Express riders from Manteca. There were 683,000 people boarding and disembarking from the Lathrop-Manteca Station in 2015 or an average of 1,420 riders each day trains are running. It is the second busiest station behind Tracy.
San Joaquin County leaders have long contended the migrants from the Bay Area that move to the 209 to buy homes settling primarily in Tracy, Manteca, Lathrop, Mountain House, and Stockton provide the region with a valuable asset in the form of a high skilled workforce.
Plans to eventually add a reverse commute for ACE coupled with soaring land and development prices in the Bay Area that are squeezing office functions as well as housing could be used as enough of an enticement to lure employers much as rising prices and a highly competitive labor market has uprooted distribution centers in the Bay Area and brought them to Tracy, Manteca, Lathrop, and Stockton.
While most distribution centers locating in the South County are newer ventures wanting to situate themselves to reach the Bay Area and Sacramento markets, a number have moved from west of the Altamont Pass. In Manteca that list includes Funsten that distributes flooring and is currently expanding its operations as well as Dryers Ice Cream’s distribution center.
A 2013 Interregional Multi-Modal Commute Trip Planning Study commissioned by the San Joaquin Council of Governments noted of the 80,000 commuters heading to the Bay Area from the overall Northern San Joaquin Valley and adjoining foothills counties, more than 60,000 come from San Joaquin County.
The top 12 employment destinations and the number of commuters are Livermore, 6,070; San Jose, 5,810; Pleasanton, 3,865; Sacramento, 3,770; Oakland, 3,665; San Francisco, 3,175; Fremont, 3,090; Hayward, 2,000; San Ramon, 1,975; Dublin, 1,610; Santa Clara, 1,375; and San Leandro, 1,285.
The top commute destinations in the 209 from Manteca area 3,800 to Stockton, 2,025 to Tracy, and 775 to Modesto.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email

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1 comment
JimHilson: 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Maybe Manteca should look well beyond their city limits for where people are commuting to and why. Patterson, Turlock and Lodi are all within the sphere of Altamont commuters heading over the hill to six figure jobs with lots of perks. Many include stock options as well and things like 9/80 schedules so every other weekend is a 3 day weekend. It reduces your commute from 10 to 9 days every 2 weeks by adding a single hour to the first 4 days of the work week.
Tech jobs for skilled tech workers need to pay something similar. A lower wage is acceptable to most if it is comparable to what the commuter makes minus their commute costs. That could easily be $500 a month for many when parking, bridge tolls and vehicle costs are factored in. So far, nobody seems to be hiring with that in mind.
Commuting over the hill used to be easy at 5 AM. Now there are backups at 4:15 from the top of the Altamont all the way back to Tracy Blvd. on 205. And 680 over Mission San Jose towards Livermore is still backed up at 8:30 at night.
I think most of us who deal with that commute would gladly take jobs closer to home as long as they paid comparable wages and benefits. Otherwise, we will keep commuting over the hill to make a lot more money than what we have been offered to work locally.

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