The Lake Transit Authority voted on Wednesday, May 10 to approve implementing bus schedule improvements recommended by Transit Director Mark Wall. The addition of Saturday service is the No. 1 change that riders would like to see, according to Lake Transit surveys.
Lake Transit presently operates Routes 4 and 7 on Saturdays to facilitate connections to Ukiah but Wall noted there is no local Lake County service to link passengers to these routes.
Wall cited a recommendation in the Transit Development Plan, adopted in June 2004, that the LTA develop a Saturday service demonstration project in the City of Clearlake and Lower Lake. "It is desirable to implement Saturday service separately from other service improvements so that the effect can be evaluated without influence from other factors," Wall's memorandum states.
Demand, impact on overall ridership and the potential to increase fare revenues based on the value that this service adds, are to be among evaluated factors in the Saturday service demonstration project. Dial-a-Ride will also be available along with the fixed-route services.
Wall's recommendation to the LTA was that the service be implemented no later than Sept. 1 to allow promotion of the new service as part of Lake Transit 's 10-year anniversary celebration. Wall is also recommending the addition of a third weekday route in the City of Clearlake, which is presently served by Routes 5 and 6, the Clearlake north and south loops.
Wall noted that these routes have long been the most productive Lake Transit services and average 20 passengers per hour during peak demand. "During peak times, and when there are multiple wheelchair boardings within an hour or two, these two routes frequently run 15 minutes or more behind schedule," he noted.
"The late buses result in lost ridership, particularly among those who try bus service with the idea of using it for daily commutes to work or school. Ridership surveys indicate that, along with a desire for weekend service, more frequent schedules and better on-time performance are high priorities."
Wall recommended to the LTA that a third route be added. "By dividing the demand among three routes, it is feasible to improve on-time performance and carry more passengers."
LTA members voted unanimously to approve the use of operating reserve funds to cover the cost of proposed enhancements and to authorize Wall to work with Laidlaw in implementing these revisions with special emphasis on getting Saturday services up and running as soon as possible. This would include Saturday services for Lake Transit 's Route 1 that connects northshore communities with Lakeport.
Among other schedule revisions agreed to by the LTA on Wednesday:
- Addition of a midday schedule to Routes 2 and 3. Revisions to these runs made last year have reduced the ability of residents to travel to appointments and shopping in Middletown, Clearlake and Lakeport. The addition of a midday run would reduce long layovers between the present routes' morning and afternoon schedules.
- Route 1 schedule addition. The Route 1 schedule for bus service along Highway 20 has time gaps of three to four hours. Lake Transit proposes to add two round trips per day, increasing the buses' frequency to every two hours through most of the day with slightly more frequent service in the early morning and late afternoon.
- Improved intercity connection between Calistoga and Santa Rosa. This is a longer-range item that involves applying for a federal grant to help fund the expanded service. Lake Transit 's Route 3 schedule is currently designed to coordinate with VINE Route 10 (Calistoga-Vallejo) and Route 11 (Calistoga-Santa Rosa) schedules in the morning but it has not presently been possible to coordinate with VINE Route 11's afternoon bus from Santa Rosa. Successful application for a federal Intercity Bus or Jobs Access -- Reverse Commute grant could facilitate commuter travel by helping to finance the service expansion.
Published in the Lake County Record-Bee