David Hawkins relies on the San Joaquin Regional Transit District to get around town.
With his bike in tow, Hawkins spends upwards of $15 every week to get from his residence near Main Street and Louise Avenue to downtown Stockton where he then uses his bicycle to traverse the side-streets and find his way around town.
The last thing that he wants to see are rate increases or a reduction in service that would make it harder for him to get around Manteca and the surrounding communities.
“I know that if the rates were to increase I wouldn’t be able to afford riding the bus,” Hawkins said while unloading his bike at the Main Street and Louise Avenue stop. “And it would really hurt if they cut back the hours. Right now there’s a gap in service in the afternoon, and if that only got wider or we had more of those that would really make it hard for people to make the system work for them.”
Tonight at 6 o’clock. in the McFall Room at the Manteca Public Library, representatives from the SJRTD will be on hand to take public comment on the proposed service modifications that are scheduled to go into effect on July 1. The combination of decreased transit funding and increased operating costs – including skyrocketing fuel bills – has forced the agency to look at how they can manage to continue offering services under the current fiscal restrictions.
Modification of weekday service, restructuring of weekend service and significant modification and restructuring of commuter services are expected in order to meet financial obligations.
Manteca currently lies on Route 27 with stops at Main Street and Industrial Park Drive, Main Street and Louise Avenue, Union Road and Northgate Drive and Main Street and Mission Ridge Drive. The route also includes a stop at the Lathrop Community Center on 5th Street as well as the San Joaquin General Hospital in French Camp.
While rate increases aren’t part of the package being proposed by the transit district, Eileen Baker doesn’t want to see cutbacks in the service to Manteca that she utilizes on a daily basis. Covering the cost of a monthly pass doesn’t bother Baker, but changes along the route that she relies on could make things annoying at best and extremely difficult to absorb at worst.
“This is something that I use on a daily basis,” Baker said. “If all of a sudden one bus is an hour later or the stop that I need isn’t offered anymore it would take some readjusting. But if they cut a route in half or take away stops that are close to where I live or where I need to be, then things get to be more than just a hassle.
“I hope that’s something that they take into consideration when they make this final decision. I think it’s something that all riders should be paying attention to.”
Additional information about the series of public hearings on the proposed service modifications can be found by visiting http://sanjoaquinrtd.com/serviceimprovement/default.php. Fee listings, routes maps and schedules can be found at http://sanjoaquinrtd.com.