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Lodi may slash transit services due to state budget cuts

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Posted: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 12:00 am

Bus riders in Lodi might notice a reduction in service starting in November because the city must slash $373,000 from its transit services to deal with cuts in state funding.

Some of the items on the chopping block include all weekend service, Dial-a-Ride same day service and any weekday fixed route service before 8 a.m. and after 5 p.m., according to a city staff report.

Lodi resident Tom Baker can still drive and does not have to take the bus, but he does it for the convenience and cheap prices. He often drops off vehicles to be repaired in Galt for his business, Baker's Heating and Air Conditioning, and then takes the Lodi bus back.

On Monday afternoon, while waiting for his wife to come pick him up from the Downtown Lodi bus station, he said the cuts wouldn't affect him directly, but he knows of many seniors, especially in their 80s and 90s, who depend on public transportation.

"The elderly use it to go to the doctor or shopping, and they don't have any other way to get there and no one to take them, and that's the unfortunate part," Baker said.

Candy Ramirez rode from Stockton and was waiting for her connecting bus in Lodi to visit family in Galt. She said cuts in weekend service could affect visits to see her parents. She has epilepsy, and while she wishes she didn't have to depend on the bus, it's her only form of transportation if she cannot walk or get a ride.

"I wish I could depend on myself, but I'm not going to get in a car, have a seizure and kill a family. … Can't they do something else that doesn't affect the necessary services?" Ramirez said.

The Lodi City Council will discuss the cuts for the first time at its shirtsleeve meeting at 7 a.m. today in Carnegie Forum, 305 W. Pine St. The city is hoping to get feedback from bus riders at public meetings on Thursday and on Oct. 15.

On Oct. 21, the council will hold a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. in Carnegie Forum to hear comments from residents on the proposed changes and possibly vote on the cuts.

City staff will also be interviewing people boarding some of the weekday morning and evening routes and the weekend routes scheduled for cancellation to see how the changes could affect them, Public Works Director Wally Sandelin said.

About a month ago, the city was told that when the state passed its budget it included deep cuts to local transit, Sandelin said. The cuts translated to Lodi needing to reduce its transit budget for the year by 20 percent, or about $443,000.

For the first four months of the fiscal year, which started July 1, the city's transit costs were already $70,000 less than budgeted. To cut the additional $373,000 remaining, staff is recommending the proposed cuts start Nov. 1, and continue for the rest of the eight months in the fiscal year.

While she hasn't studied in detail the city's recommendations, Ann Areida-Hintz, the city's senior services coordinator, said she can see where some of the changes might affect how seniors travel around town.

One of the main cuts that could affect seniors and those with disabilities is changes to the Dial-a-Ride service and VineLine service. Both pick up residents at their home, and people can schedule rides ahead of time or call the same day they need service. The difference between the two routes is Dial-a-Ride provides service to everyone, while VineLine is for customers that require Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant services.

Most of Lodi's seniors have gotten "savvy" about not using same-day Dial-A-Ride service because it is more expensive, Areida-Hintz said.

But if the city requires reservations, she is worried about what would happen in an emergency if a senior had a high fever and needed to see the doctor.

On Sundays, some seniors might plan on the transportation system to get to church, she said.

"We have a great Dial-a-Ride system, and seniors are grateful for what they have. But I could see where it could be a hardship. We have seniors who cannot make it to the bus stop and depend on that Dial-a-Ride service, so we don't want to see too many changes," Areida-Hintz said.

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodinews.com or read her blog at www.lodinews.com/blogs/citybuzz.

Meetings at a glance

The city will have several public meetings to discuss the proposed budget cuts.

— 10 a.m. Thursday at the LOEL Center, 105 S. Washington St.

— 8 a.m. Oct. 15 at Hutchins Street Square, 125 S. Hutchins St. The city's Senior Commission will be holding the meeting.

— 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21 at Carnegie Forum, 305 W. Pine Street. This will be a Lodi City Council public hearing, and the council will be able to vote on the cuts at this meeting.

Options to save money

Here are some of the options the Lodi City Council will discuss at its shirtsleeve meeting today. All of the savings are estimates and calculated for the eight months that remain in the fiscal year, which started July 1.

Eliminate Saturday and Sunday service for fixed routes and Dial-a-Ride service

Savings: $110,000.

This would eliminate all bus service on the weekends because the city's Express Routes already only run on weekdays.

Of the 254,000 passengers annually who ride on the fixed routes:

— About 4.6 percent, or 11,684 passengers, ride on Saturdays.

— About 3.6 percent, or 9,144 passengers, ride on Sundays.

Reduce fixed route services to between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Savings: $70,000.

The city's current fixed routes operate from 6:15 a.m. until 6:54 p.m.

Of the annual 254,000 passengers:

— About 13 percent, or 33,020 customers, ride between 6:15 a.m. and 7:45 a.m.

— About 9.3 percent, or 23,633 customers, ride between 5 p.m. and 6:54 p.m.

The new service would be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. One option for morning riders will be to use one of Lodi's three Express Routes, which will continue to operate on the current schedules. In the morning, the Express Routes operate from 6:10 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and are mostly used by students. The city does not know how many riders would adjust their schedule to switch to the Express Routes.

Reduce Dial-a-Ride service to between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Savings: $15,000.

The city would also change these services to the same daytime hours. Currently, 88 percent of riders on this service already travel between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Eliminate same-day service for Dial-a-Ride service

Savings: $60,000.

The city has buses and drivers on duty currently to provide same-day service seven days a week. Of the 53,000 Dial-a-Ride passengers, about 30 percent, or 15,900, take advantage of same-day service.

With the cuts, the city would require advanced reservations for both services. The city might be able to accommodate some people seeking same-day service if the customer could ride on a route that has already been established for the day.

Eliminate service on three holidays and on city furlough Fridays

Total: $27,000.

The city would also eliminate all transit services (fixed routes, Express Routes and Dial-a-Ride) on holidays and eight furlough Fridays a year.

The furlough days would be the last Fridays of the month.

The three additional holidays are Veteran's Day on Nov. 11, the Friday after Thanksgiving on Nov. 26 and Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18, 2010.

Reduce operation costs

Savings: As high as $50,000.

The city will save money on fuel, cleaning and maintenance because the buses will not be in service as much.

This story was updated at 6:15 a.m. Oct. 7, 2009, to correct the address of the LOEL Center.

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  • posted at 5:54 pm on Sun, Oct 11, 2009.


    Mainframe: Edumacation is simply unbalanced.

  • posted at 5:45 pm on Sun, Oct 11, 2009.


    Yes, I think edumacation is off her meds again. What a nut!

  • posted at 10:42 am on Sat, Oct 10, 2009.


    Lodian wrote on Oct 10, 2009 2:21 AM:" edumacation: Do you really have to rely on regurgitated Savagisms?"Maybe that's all she's got, Lodian.

  • posted at 9:28 pm on Fri, Oct 9, 2009.


    edumacation wrote "Maybe the 80 year old can walk or drive? Whose responsibility is it to provide personal ground transportation?"edumacation: So, you promote more vehicles on the road? More traffic? You would like to see those on the road that maybe should not be driving? And what about those that do not or cannot drive at all? These people are productive members of society and you want to keep them house bound? What's wrong with you? Public transportation is good for the community. The nursing student going to school, the grandma doing her daily shopping, etc... there are a million stories like this that support public transportation. You need to think outside your own little box. You just don't make a lick of sense.

  • posted at 9:21 pm on Fri, Oct 9, 2009.


    edumacation: Do you really have to rely on regurgitated Savagisms?

  • posted at 4:03 pm on Fri, Oct 9, 2009.


    Lodian--Many believe that liberalism is a mental disorder. WHat do you think?

  • posted at 4:01 pm on Fri, Oct 9, 2009.


    Bob Hussein Loblaw-- I have been propagandized by liberals over the year ----indoctrinated is the correct word, to NEVER use any word that might offend someone or in any stretch of the imagination not be "objective". I am not an Ageist---are you? I don't descriminate publicly except against my own prejudice framework which does not include people categorized by age. I am impatient with the ignorant and with liars. I am revulsed by charlatans, bureaucrats, grifters and Realtors---oops, I already said GRIFTER. My judgement serves me well and have never had complaints about life, only about the touts and grifters that define themselves as politicians or spokespersons.

  • posted at 3:14 pm on Fri, Oct 9, 2009.


    edumacation: So you endorse putting more 80 year old drivers on the road?You may not drink, but something is impairing your judgment.

  • posted at 11:46 am on Fri, Oct 9, 2009.


    In some countries, ground transportation by bus seems to be working. In those countries law officers can chaeck passports, identification and arrest miscreants. In the USA, we have rights but few responsibilities, as a result ground transportation is ineffective and very expensive. It is NOT a necessity.

  • posted at 11:42 am on Fri, Oct 9, 2009.


    Lodian: I don't drink. Maybe the 80 year old can walk or drive? Whose responsibility is it to provide personal ground transportation?

  • posted at 7:05 pm on Thu, Oct 8, 2009.


    edumacation: Are you on some serious drugs? You just seem to be going off the deep end these days on all the blogs. You are simply not lucid.Now, how many 80 year olds do you see riding their bikes to the grocery store? I await your response... I hope you are sober before you answer.

  • posted at 5:52 pm on Thu, Oct 8, 2009.


    Stop the busses. Look who rides them? people who don't want to walk or bicycle. Most anyone can get from one end of Lodi to the other faster on a bicycle than waiting for a taxpayer funded bus boondoggle. If you are handicapped, you had your chance with the Obama clunker bail out. I am sure riders can enjoy the healthy excercise of walking or biking.Those who can't walk have your federal government supplies electric wheel chairs. Life just is not fair to everyone. Lets shut down the busses.

  • posted at 1:52 pm on Wed, Oct 7, 2009.


    How can there possibly be a shortfall?The city council voted unanimously to allow unlimited prayer just so Jesus would make darn sure this type of thing wouldn't happen - and now look.

  • posted at 8:43 am on Wed, Oct 7, 2009.


    LodiJoe: Especially in these times it is not a good idea to force people not to go to work or school. Transportation for these folks is a good thing for everyone, even you.

  • posted at 6:52 am on Wed, Oct 7, 2009.


    No enterprise, private or public, should be allowed to survive at a loss. Raising tax revenue to subsidize any program is just flat wrong. It makes people pay for services whether or not they benefit from that service. They should scale back this department so that it is self sufficient and if they can't, eliminate it totally. I am sure if people need to go somewhere, they will figure out how to get there.

  • posted at 4:37 pm on Tue, Oct 6, 2009.


    Providing an extravagent service for a gift price is not a municiapl obligation. We continually hear about making the car drivers pay their cost to socirty but not a word about the heavily subsidized public transit rider.The city should get out of this ruinous business.Take a taxi, pay your own way.

  • posted at 12:44 pm on Tue, Oct 6, 2009.


    T&C, regarding your 4:25 pm post. The Tokay mold problem was a Lodi Unified School District issue and not a City of Lodi issue. Just wanted to clarify.

  • posted at 11:49 am on Tue, Oct 6, 2009.


    Public busses? Shut them down. Let the private sector handle it. If there is a profit to be made, there will be busses. If not, why subsidize a few busriders for millions of dollars extracted from taxpayers?

  • posted at 11:34 am on Tue, Oct 6, 2009.


    Lodi has crawled into the 21st century with adequate transportation. Some of us need to ride the bus to work - yes even on weekends. The large busses are wasteful, but there seem to be plenty of small busses/dial-a-ride busses available.

  • posted at 11:31 am on Tue, Oct 6, 2009.


    Lodi finally caught up with the civilized world, where a person can commute to work to anywhere from the Bay Area to Sac. or Stockton...now you want to regress into a town where it is necessary to drive/pollute just to go to wal-mart from downtown? WRONG WRONG WRONG!! Maybe some of the Wineries can contribute, or does the city prefer the revenue from DUIs?

  • posted at 11:25 am on Tue, Oct 6, 2009.


    INCOMES of Bus Passengers may not match the wages of mainstream families, but "We rely on the Bus service" to BUY things. This means that after 5 PM Week-days, and on Saturday and Sunday, sales and "SALES TAX" will NOT be made. "Way to go City of Lodi"!I don't want to EVER read an article by the City of Lodi in the future that "Sales tax revenue is less then expected, that businesses are closing or left vacant! To get business growth and increased sales, "You need Customers, and they need to get to and from those businesses!"How Ironic when Tokay High had all the MOLD problem, the City of Lodi spent Millions immediately, but that was to avert thousands of potential lawsuits. See folks, that is the real difference. Bus service is not and has never been a "Priority to the City of Lodi!"

  • posted at 11:18 am on Tue, Oct 6, 2009.


    After these "Proposed Cuts"; LOL. Sorry to laugh but these are NOT "Proposed cuts"! Anyways, after these proposed "CUTS to bus service go into effect, I urge everyone when possible to do 2 things:First... "Do not use Dial-A Ride buses to go where you have to go, because the City feels you should not ride public transportation as it is scheduled "NOW"! Why reward the City of Lodi with your money for the "Hardships and inconvenience caused to us?"Second, instead, "Walk, Ride a Bicycle, Maybe have a friend or neighbor help you out, "Neighbors helping each other, is the way America has grown century after Century!"Left without any other choice, "Please call the Lodi Taxi service!" Those drivers deserve your money more then a City who cannot manage their transportation funds properly!Do you think for a moment this $373,000.00 "Shortfall in funds, "Happened over-night"? I don't think so. It is a common practice among Cities, big and small to keep things quiet, and then "Burst out the news so "Cuts to programs and Rate Hikes can be implemented", or does someone disagree with me! Look at the Banking industry!

  • posted at 11:08 am on Tue, Oct 6, 2009.


    " I know its a "Stupid Question" to ask of the City Council, but when they get Millions in federal funds for the bus system, "Are they going to resume the quality" of bus service they are about to "CUT"????? Well, of course not! "

  • posted at 11:01 am on Tue, Oct 6, 2009.


    10 a.m. Thursday at the LOEL Center, 415 S. Sacramento St.— 8 a.m. Oct. 15 at Hutchins Street Square, 125 S. Hutchins St. The city's Senior Commission will be holding the meeting.— 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21 at Carnegie Forum, 305 W. Pine Street. This will be a Lodi City Council public hearing, and the council will be able to vote on the cuts at this meeting.Doesn't anyone else see a "Pattern here?"2 out of 3 meetings are when people are at work!

  • posted at 10:59 am on Tue, Oct 6, 2009.


    Lodi is "NOT" in short supply of "Miss-using The buy system funds... for example...."Look at the Smart and Final Bus shelter stop at Lodi Avenue and Stockton Street! Don't you EVER wonder why "No one EVER gets on or off at that stop?" The bus shelter location violates California State Law! So it must be re-located over to Stockton Street, of course at additional expense that Lodi doesn't have. These are NOT Proposed cuts to bus service folks! These are cuts that will be approved by the City Council regardless of whether 5 people or 500 people show up at these 2 meetings!Keep in mind that those who rely upon the bus service to get to work, esp... during the proposed cut in hours, cannot show up at the meeting to protest because they are working."How convenient and thoughtful of the city council to set the Time during normal working hours".

  • posted at 10:21 am on Tue, Oct 6, 2009.


    Just a note that Thursday, Oct. 8th's meeting being held at the LOEL Center is at 105 S. Washington St. NOT 415 S. Sacramento St.

  • posted at 8:54 am on Tue, Oct 6, 2009.


    ordinarycitizen wrote on Oct 6, 2009 11:02 AM:" I went online and looked up Lodi City Council and here is a link to the webpage that lists email addresses and voicemail: http://www.lodi.gov/city-council/Representatives.htmlPlease, everybody call our City Council and see if it will make a difference. "Come on my friend... "You know the "Decision has already been made!" The 2 City Council meetings will simply allow us all to blow off Steam"! But at least we will have contacted them! We passengers are on the low end of the income chain. Do you really think they will change their mind. Thank you for the weblink though.

  • posted at 6:02 am on Tue, Oct 6, 2009.


    I went online and looked up Lodi City Council and here is a link to the webpage that lists email addresses and voicemail: http://www.lodi.gov/city-council/Representatives.htmlPlease, everybody call our City Council and see if it will make a difference.

  • posted at 5:43 am on Tue, Oct 6, 2009.


    How nice it would be for Lodi to "Buy 5 reliable NEW "Medium sized buses".... but please do not have high hopes! It is NOT going to happen. The small dial a ride buses are too small on certain runs and the big buses waste gas, and many times cannot run their A/C without slowing the engine down and not staying on schedule...plus refueling more often! face it folks, Lodi will do as they wish, just as they do with Elec, Water, and Garbage Rates or anything else!But look at the bright side, "At least Lodi is not proposing a $1.50 per person Fare increase.... "YET"!

  • posted at 5:37 am on Tue, Oct 6, 2009.


    Very good question ordinarycitizen! However I do not feel they want LNS printing their phone numbers, and E-Mail addresses in the paper so they can hear what we think. City hall would have all their names and addresses tho. Tel: 333-6700

  • posted at 5:28 am on Tue, Oct 6, 2009.


    Let me get this right:"This would eliminate all bus service on the weekends because the city's Express Routes already only run on weekdays."!So what Lodi is Proposing then is that From 5PM FRIDAY until 6:15 AM Monday if ya don't mind a small bus filled with screaming ill mannered children no one in Lodi can ride a bus Any where in Lodi for any reason? Oh I love that plan! Not!Here is an OPTION Lodi "REFUSES to consider:Why Not "Cut" (2) Week-Day bus runs for example; 10:45 am and 2:o5 PM runs and instead offer (2 Week-end) runs say at 10:45 AM and 1:00 PM? This would allow passengers "Some form of week-end service! Why not? Because the City of Lodi doesn't want to offer "Week-end service!"

  • posted at 5:20 am on Tue, Oct 6, 2009.


    How can we we get in touch with our city coucil? What are the email addresses or their telephone numbers in which to call? Or, better yet, an address to mail a letter? For all those who cannot get to the meetings due to having no transportation.

  • posted at 5:19 am on Tue, Oct 6, 2009.


    While I will be at the Loel center "Meeting" everyone knows the decision is pretty much already been decided as "Out lined in this article.The 2 meetings simply allow us Passengers to vent our emotions! "Thank you so much Lodi"!

  • posted at 5:17 am on Tue, Oct 6, 2009.


    (2) Spend some of those Millions of dollars in State and Federal transportation funds and install Cash fare boxes like RTD buses have. I have been a passenger on city buses for nearly 6 years and I sit close to the front of the bus and know that many, not just a few, are NOT paying the full fare, plus many with children are NOT paying the full fare required for them and their many children to ride! The issuance of transfers cuts the bus revenue in half.... "DUH"!"Under paying to ride the bus cuts the bus revenue as well.These two loop holes are a big reason for loss of revenue for Lodi. Drastically cutting bus services only punishes "All passengers for the lax collection of fares by the City of Lodi, when people dump in pennies and nickles and claims it equals $1 or gets on the bus with 3 kids and the mother pays only $1!" Or can someone tell me where I am wrong?

  • posted at 5:12 am on Tue, Oct 6, 2009.


    As a disabled vet passenger I will be at the 10 a.m. Thursday at the LOEL Center, 415 S. Sacramento St.What adult would possibly be interested in riding In the morning, the Express Route from 6:10 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and are mostly used by students? That is insane!Here is a "Thought to ponder":If this "Financial Crisis" was related to something Lodi "Deemed Critical" The Tokay Mold fiascal" for exaMPLE, "look how quickly" lODI CAME UP WITH MILLIONS OF $$$$!The bottom line fellow passengers is this: "We passengers do not OWN Homes, or Cars, do not pay property taxes, Car taxes, don't buy Gas, or houses full of furniture, nor do we do many things that "Bring in a "Huge tax revenue to the city"! Sure the City loves those Millions from State and federal transportation funds" but that is all. Here are TWO (2) "NO Brainer" Ideas:If you want to MAKE Money and maintain service: (1) Discontinue the issuance of Transfers! You get on ANY where, you pay $1.00! How hard is that? Continued.....

  • posted at 3:45 am on Tue, Oct 6, 2009.


    Maybe they can get rid of all those huge buses to start with. Most are empty or nearly empty anyway. Those huge buses are ridiculous.

  • posted at 2:22 am on Tue, Oct 6, 2009.


    Oh no, how are the gang bangers going to get to Lodi to steal cars?

  • posted at 11:44 pm on Mon, Oct 5, 2009.


    I see near empty buses all over town. Why are they so big anyway?



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