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ROTA Incurs Financial Penalty
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Riverbank Oakdale Transit Authority has incurred a $14,000 penalty for failing to meet the 10 percent fare box ratio of the state’s funding for operating the public bus system, ROTA Coordinator Donna Bridges reported in her memo to the board that met yesterday, Feb. 14.

This amount is due in the 2013-2014 fiscal year and is an approximate amount depending on how service improves in the fiscal year 2012-2013. The penalty can be resolved by each city paying half the cost or the State of California will reduce its operating funds by the penalty amount.

She suggested ROTA board members discuss this problem with their respective city councils.

The State mandates ROTA’s Dial-A-Ride service raise at least 10 percent of its operating cost from the fare box and ROTA at the last monthly report raised only 7.23 percent.

Three options to meeting the required fare box ratio are to have Stanislaus County take over ROTA service with the County guaranteeing to maintain the current level of service for at least the first year; have the City of Modesto operate ROTA leaving control issues to the joint powers authority that currently runs the service; or increase fares.

In Stanislaus County, the average Dial-A-Ride fare is $2.13 for the general public and $1.84 for a senior citizen, the disabled and students.

For ROTA to achieve the 10 percent fare box ratio, Bridges suggested, fares would have to increase by 70 cents. If the State, however, changes the Transportation Development Act requirements and allows advertising revenue to count towards the fare box total, ROTA would only have to increase fares by 50 cents, making up the remainder through advertising funds.