The new bus routes and schedules were approved Tuesday by the Ripon City Council.
What does that mean for riders of the Blossom Express?
According to City Administrator Kevin Werner – he was officially appointed to the post during the closed session – they can look forward to having regional connections to Stockton, Manteca and places around Modesto.
“We’ve added a couple of more stops, most notably, Kaiser Permanente in Modesto,” he said.
Werner, who praised the efforts of Mitzi Johnston and Barbara Schneider for spearheading the transit workshop a few weeks ago, the Blossom Express will continue to operate on Tuesdays and Thursdays but will do so making four continuous loops between Ripon and Modesto.
The intent of the two round trips in the morning coupled with the two round trips in the afternoon is to provide riders with some flexibility.
As for the regional connections, riders will soon have the option to link up with the Regional Transit District Route 91 servicing Manteca and Stockton or connect to the Modesto Area Express routes. “Hopefully, we can do this in a seamless manner,” Vice Mayor Chuck Winn said.
The changes will go into effect on Nov. 5.
Schneider indicated that the Blossom Express is looking at the month of November to offer free bus services to veterans and military folks.
Werner added the new routes won’t change the rates for riders. That’s because all operational cost are covered 100 percent by Measure K funding.
Councilman Jake Parks questioned whether the new routes will increase ridership.
“If I had to predict the changes will be low to moderate (in increased ridership),” Schneider said.
She pointed out that Ripon is still new to the transit world and changes, in this case, usually take time and circulates via word of mouth.
In addition, the Blossom Express will continue to have some timed stops – that’s when the driver pulls over and will wait until the designated departure time – along with some soft stops.
Bus drivers, under soft stops, will only pullover and stop at the request of the riders looking to disembark or those who request to be picked up at the designated area.
Schneider added that the bus service will offer deviated fixed route. Riders here are required to give one-day advanced notice.
For more information on routes and other transit needs, call Ripon City Hall at 209-599-2108 or log on to www.cityofripon.org.