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Bus commuters fret RT changes may hamper getting to work
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• Those looking for additional information or possible bus schedule changes or to obtain a copy of the report concerning service modifications can visit

If the San Joaquin Regional Transit District pulls the plug on their commuter buses, regular rider Brandy Spears thinks it’s just a matter of time before she ends up getting laid off.

And that’ll come after she pays an extra $100-a-month for the privilege of riding the ACE train and getting dropped off in a part of Santa Clara that is nowhere near her place of employment – the thing that worries her the most.

“Taking the train is a lot more expensive than taking the bus,” Spears said. “It’s something that we’re all worried about, but I have a feeling that I’m going to have a hard time keeping my job if I can’t find a steady and sure way to get to work.”

Spears was one of dozens of people who showed up in the McFall Room of the Manteca Public Library Tuesday afternoon to let their stance on the possible cutbacks – which could be adopted as soon as July 1 – be known.

The district claims that a reduction in operating revenues stemming from projected Measure K shortfalls and an increase in operating costs, particularly in fuel purchases, are creating a budget crunch that needs to be solved by the end of the fiscal year.

If approved, July’s reductions would the second time in as many years that the SJRTD has cut back on monthly service hours – impacting passenger trips in 2010 by 3.1 percent.

Most of the 50 or so people who showed up Tuesday night, however, were there to find out about commuter services and whether they’d still have the benefit of riding a bus to get back and forth to places such as Livermore, Pleasanton, Palo Alto, San Jose and Sacramento.

According to a chart outlining the possible changes to the current service structure, routes to San Jose, Palo Alto and Bay Area Rapid Transit stations as well as two Livermore and Sacramento routes are currently underperforming and are being considered for either modification or removal.

That’s not the news that Ryan Van Fossen was hoping to hear when he found out that the district was considering either realigning or removing some routes.

“Taking the bus to Livermore for me makes it so much easier than driving, and you don’t have to worry about the wear-and-tear on your car or the gas or having to replace your tires because you’re driving back-and-forth over the hill every day,” he said – noting that he pays $138 every month for the privilege of riding the bus. “I honestly think that if they were to do what they’re talking about and have us get off and switch buses in Tracy that it would end up getting me in trouble.

“It’s risky when you think about having to rely on another bus to come to pick you up and make sure that you end up getting to work on time.”

Those who missed the meeting will get another chance to voice their opinion before the input window closes at the end of business on Wednesday, May 25. The district will hold another public hearing on Monday, May 23, at 1:30 inside of Winner’s gaming emporium located at the corner of Airport and Charter Ways in Stockton. Another will be held later that night at the Sherwood Mall Desk Services Center at 5:30 p.m. Those looking for additional information or a copy of the report can visit