The new public transit provider for the City of Escalon has been selected and will take over the bus service, with operations beginning as of Wednesday, Feb. 15.
Members of the Escalon City Council authorized contracting with the new firm at their recent council meeting.
“The City Council approved the execution of an agreement with MTM Transit LLC to operate and maintain the eTrans Transit System,” explained City Manager Dominique Romo.
MTM Transit, LLC currently operates the City of Tracy’s TRACER transit system. With the agreement, MTM will also now operate the City’s eTrans transit system for a one-year period from Feb. 1, 2023 to Jan. 31, 2024 at a monthly fixed cost of $10,144.68; along with a variable hourly rate.
“MTM is able to operate this service through its Tracy contract so that the City (of Escalon) is able to receive the same pricing and benefits that the City of Tracy currently receives,” Romo added.
Escalon Transit Coordinator John Andoh said with a grant received by the city, they will be able to offer free rides to patrons of the new bus service. So, while the city is paying the contract for operation and maintenance, the riders will have their fares covered by the grant money.
“People can ride for free,” Andoh said. “Hopefully that will help us increase ridership.”
The City’s transit system is funded by the Transportation Development Act (TDA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), State of Good Repair (SGR), Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP), Measure K, miscellaneous revenues and fare revenues. Andoh said the grant fund to cover fares for the coming year was awarded by Caltrans to the city through the LCTOP program.
Currently, those needing services can use the RTD VanGo, a city-sponsored Uber program or the RTD My Ride volunteer program.
The eTrans transit system is comprised of a demand responsive door-to-door service within the City of Escalon and Route 35, the intercity route connecting the cities of Escalon and Modesto. Transit services will resume on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023.