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ROTA Makes Route Adjustments
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While the ROTA (Riverbank-Oakdale Transit Authority) trolley may no longer be in operation, the Dial-A-Ride bus is still tooling around Oakdale and Riverbank, making adjustments that reflect a sign of the current economic times.

At the Aug. 10 ROTA meeting, several items were brought up for discussion, including the upcoming installation of surveillance cameras at four Oakdale and one Riverbank bus stop locations.

The camera locations in Oakdale will be: West F Street near Wood Avenue; West F in front of the Valero Station; West F at the site of the new Walgreen’s; and on South Maag, just west of Kmart. In Riverbank, the bus stop located at the Galaxy Theater will get a camera.

The security cameras were purchased through a grant issued by the Homeland Security and should be installed within the next four weeks. The cameras will be mounted on poles and will have the ability to pan.

Riverbank City Manager Rich Holmer said the installation of the cameras is an attempt to curb the vandalism and graffiti.

“The cameras give a good view of the whole area,” Holmer said.

Law enforcement will also have access to the camera views so in the event a crime is committed, they will be able to react more swiftly.

And in other discussions, a decision was made to allow passengers under the age of 9 to ride the ROTA bus to school when accompanied by an older sibling. According to Holmer, several parents voiced their frustration when their younger children were not able to ride due to the previous rule.

The board approved a “curb to curb” agreement, which would allow the drivers to transport the children but would not require the drivers to walk students to their classrooms.

When asked if there was a surge of school age riders following the decision, Holmer admitted no, however, he said, “I’m not sure if the word is out as much.”

For the month of July, the passenger count was 1,479. Of those, 1,300 were senior or disabled; 226 were general public; and 40 were students. July 1 had the highest volume of riders with 94 passengers, which was a decrease from June.

With the discontinuation of the trolley, one of the two trolleys is for sale with an assessed value of $90,000 to 95,000, however, to date, there have been no interested buyers, according to transit coordinator Donna Bridges.

The other trolley is available for private rental.

Coming within the month, courtesy of a grant, ROTA drivers will be able to be of much more help to severely handicapped riders by assisting them from their home to the bus and vice versa. Currently, the bus drivers are undergoing training to facilitate this new service at no extra charge.

Board members noted the struggle for ridership continues to plague the transit system, though ROTA is not alone as other transit systems such as Ceres, Turlock, and Modesto transit have also failed to meet farebox ratios. This issue is scheduled to be addressed at the next Stanislaus Council of Governments, StanCOG, meeting.