The answer to getting your son or daughter safely around town — and even to and from school — and do so inexpensively is bigger than a bread box, seats up to 21 people, and has a distinctive red, white and blue motif.
The answer is a Manteca Transit bus.
The city transit program is working to drive home the point that taking a bus is a cost effective, safe and efficient way to get around Manteca especially for youth.
To that end Manteca Transit has:
added a bus stop at the Manteca Boys & Girls Club as part of Route 3.
set up programs at city high schools explaining how to ride the bus, fare options, and where it can take teens. The first program is at Sierra High on Friday during student orientation.
obtained a state grant that will allow it to offer two weeks that youth can ride buses free — Aug. 12-17 and Oct. 14-18 — to get a better understanding of how they can get around Manteca. The same grant is making free bus passes available to low-income youth through the Boys & Girls Club.
rolled out an app that can allow parents to track the progress of the bus that their child is riding in real time and what time it will arrive at its destination.
set up two information sessions for the public on Thursday, Aug. 15, at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the Manteca Transit Center, 220 Moffat Blvd. The sessions will cover new stops, three new routes and information on a fourth route expected to be in place in October for additional service south of the 120 Bypass as well as the new app. They also will also questions that you may have.
conducted one session on how to ride the bus and are planning others for members of the Boys & Girls Club.
plans to add a bus shelter and bench in front of the Boys & Girls Club to serve not just members but also the surrounding neighborhood.
There is currently a two-pronged marketing strategy aimed at youth.
Manteca Unified for almost a decade has stopped providing in town transportation to high school students due to budget concerns. As a result there are a significant number of teens who cannot get rides due to family work schedules. As a result teens sometimes walk 2 to 3 miles in fog or adverse weather. They often need to cross overpasses and their approaches that have no sidewalk or fencing. There are also areas where roads are narrow with no shoulder to walk on.
But besides to and from school transportation, Transit Supervisor Juan Portillo notes Manteca Transit is a good way for teens and children to be mobile after school, on weekends and during vacation.
“You can take Manteca Transit to go to the movies and to go bowling,” Portillo gave as an example.
Youth fares are 75 cents for those ages 2 to 18. It covers any transfers they need to make to switch buses to reach their destination. Transfer points are the Transit Center, the Civic Center at 1001 W. Center St., and Stadium Retail Center anchored by Kohl’s.
Monthly passes for youth ages 2 to 18 are $28. Ten-ride passes for ages 5 to 18 are $7.
Either passes or exact change is needed to ride a bus. Passes can be purchased at the Transit Center, 220 Moffat Blvd., or the Manteca Parks & Recreation Office, 252 Magnolia Ave.
Those who are 12 and older can ride the bus by themselves. Youth between 6 and 11 years of age must ride the bus accompanied by someone who is 12 years or older. Those under 6 are required to be with someone 18 years of age or older.
All Manteca Transit buses also have bicycle racks.
Boon for parents of Boys
& Girls Club members
The Manteca Transit outreach to youth is already having a positive impact on families who send — or want to send — their children to the Boys & Girls Club.
Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Jeanie Miller noted that is across the economic spectrum.
One mother — who due to an accident that has restricted her to a wheelchair temporarily — had been ordering Uber or Lyft rides to get her 14 year-old and 7 year-old to the club.
The availability of Manteca Transit has taken what easily was a $30 per day expense down to $3. With two monthly passes, the cost per child would drop to less than $1 a day.
At the other end of the spectrum homeless families living temporarily in motels along Moffat more often than not lack the ability to drive to and from the club to drop off and pick up their kids. Instead their children have been walking. But with the new stop at the Boys & Girls Club they use the pass made available through the state grant to walk to the Transit Center and catch the bus.
Then there are those in the middle who have both parents that work and have to walk over 3 miles round-trip to and from the club as one 10-year-old boy had been doing to this summer. He now rides the bus.
Portillo said that helps relieve parent concerns about their children contending with traffic on major corridors when they walk.
And when it comes to safety, all buses as well as bus shelters have cameras that are monitored through Manteca Police dispatch.
Miller expects the advent of the Manteca Transit bus stop at the Boys & Girls Club will mean more members and less after school latch-key kids when school starts.
“We have a number of parents that would like to send their kids to the club but they have no way of getting them here because of their work schedule,” Miller said. “The bus service will change that.”
Portillo noted a number of Manteca Delta College students are dropped off at the Transit Center by parents to catch Regional Transit buses to the Stockton campus. Manteca Transit along with Regional Transit and municipal transit concerns throughout the county such as Tracy, Lodi, Escalon, and Ripon are work on a PayPal style app that will allow riders to purchase tickets on any of the transit systems.
Information on Manteca Transit as well as printable rider guides to the fixed route system plus maps of the system are available by going to www.ci.manteca.ca.us/PublicWorks/MantecaTransit
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