The first of the year brings a change for the Riverbank-Oakdale Transit Authority, which will be taken over by Stanislaus Regional Transit (StaRT), the two sides agreeing to a merger earlier this year. ROTA has served the two cities with the public bus program since 1993.
Following several months of discussion, the ROTA board agreed this past June to begin seeking incorporation that required dissolution of the authority and setting up memorandums of agreement between the two cities and the county. The overall goal is to continue providing the services city residents in both communities need, but at a higher fare box recovery ratio than ROTA was able to achieve.
Throughout the discussions, officials with StaRT noted they planned to maintain or expand services and manager Eunice Lovi, in presenting a written Department of Public Works proposal during the talks, said the county already runs bus systems for the cities of Patterson, Waterford and Newman, so it has experience in small town needs.
Fares will also be lower when StaRT takes over the system. New fares, one way, will be $1.50 for students and general fare riders, $1.25 for seniors (65-plus) and the disabled. Out of area routes will cost an additional $1.50. To schedule a ride, call 869-7444.
Riders can also visit www.srt.org for more information on the service changes.
Formed in 1993 as a joint powers authority, ROTA initially had only a curb to curb Dial A Ride service and reached an all-time ridership high in 2002-2003 with an average per month of 5,856. The average over the past several months has hovered around 1,500 riders per month.