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New hours approved for Lodi public transit

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Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013 12:00 am

Lodi residents applauded a city council decision to extend GrapeLine and Dial-A-Ride hours as part of a new five-year plan for city public transit.

“The proposed hours are great,” resident and bus user Clifford Weaver said.

The Lodi City Council unanimously approved the plan presented by the transportation department during a Wednesday night meeting. The biggest changes suggested in the plan include improvements to bus stop shelters, increasing security where buses are stored overnight, and extending hours on all fixed route busing lines.

In a few weeks, fixed routes will begin at 6:30 a.m. each day. The routes will run until 7:15 p.m. Monday to Friday, 9:15 p.m. on Saturday, and 4:15 p.m. on Sunday. Dial-A-Ride will run through 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Another addition may include a program to check a bus’s arrival time via smartphone.

Councilman Bob Johnson encouraged the transportation department to stick to addressing more essential needs and goals of public transit, but Councilwoman JoAnne Mounce said she’d love to see a smartphone app or something similar.

“We’re trying to increase ridership, especially among younger people, and younger people live with their phones. They will want to know where the bus is in real time,” she said.

Four members of the public shared their public transit concerns with the council.

Weaver asked the council if it was possible to connect more lines, to reduce trip times when a rider needs to transfer. He also requested that the city look into allowing discounted fares for disabled riders who need an attendant to ride along on GrapeLine or Dial-A-Ride. The cost can add up quickly when paying for both people, he said.

Joanna Nightengale, a volunteer at Micke Grove Park, and asked the council if there’s a way for local transit to connect so she can have transport to the park.

City staff is looking into the cost feasibility of letting attendants of disabled riders board buses for free.

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com.

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