What We Do
The Transportation Division provides public transportation for the citizens of Modesto.
Our Modesto Area Express (MAX) system carries over 3.6 million customers per year and
has over 800 stops in and around Modesto. The Modesto ACE Express offers three non-stop
trips morning and evening to the Lathrop/Manteca ACE train station.
The Modesto BART Express offers two trips morning and evening to the Pleasanton/Dublin BART station.
We also have stops that run to the AMTRAK station on Parker Road.
In addition to Modesto Area Express (MAX), the City of Modesto provides a
specialized transportation service for persons with disabilities, and people age 65 and older.
This service is provided seven days a week, every day of the year.
The City’s transit service was initially known as the Modesto Motor Bus Service and was operated
by a private owner. Ridership on the service peaked during World War II when automobiles and gasoline
were in short supply. Ridership and the service’s profitability began a steady decline after the war
due primarily to the popularity of the automobile. The City first became involved with public transit
in an attempt to maintain the profitability of the private transit company. By 1968 the buses used
by the company were old and undependable and due to their advanced age required a high level of expensive
maintenance. The City obtained a federal grant to purchase four new 1968 buses which it turned over
to the private company to replace its aging fleet. The new buses reduced operating expenses and attracted
new riders and thus enabled the company to continue in business. By 1973 the company owner, who did
everything himself from maintaining buses to dispatching and driving, decided that the business could no
longer continue profitably. No buyers were interested in acquiring the business and it was about to shut
down. The City determined that it was important for the community to have public transit service continue
and decided to operate it as a public service, ultimately changing the name to Intracity Transit. At
the time the City acquired the service it was carrying a few hundred thousand riders per year. The service
now carries the name Modesto Area Express (MAX), which was adopted by the City in 1990, and serves
approximately 3,600,000 passengers annually.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why don't smaller buses run on routes that aren't busy?
- MAX uses either a 35' or 40' bus on a route dependent upon the maximum number of passengers expected to be on the bus at any one time during the course of the day to avoid the need to add large numbers of supplemental buses to accommodate maximum ridership. The City selected these two bus sizes after years of experimentation. Having only two sizes in the fleet reduces the cost of parts inventory, special diagnostic equipment, driver and mechanic training, and repair efficiency. Labor expenses make up the majority of the cost of operating a bus so very little depends on the size of the bus. Operating additional buses to meet maximum ridership demand is extremely expensive and is avoided as much as possible.
- Why are some routes different, or not run on the weekend?
- For a variety of reasons ridership on weekends is much lower than weekdays. To maintain an efficient system in spite of reduced ridership, routes and schedules must be pared back. Consequently, though Saturday routes are the same as weekday routes they donâ€™t operate as frequently to maintain efficiency standards. To maximize efficiency on Sundays, some routes donâ€™t run at all or are a combination of the highest ridership segments of multiple routes.
- What time will the bus be at my stop?
- MAX provides that information in several different ways. You can obtain that information by using the Easy Rider Trip Planner located on the MAX website (click here). Additionally, information for hundreds of selected stops is provided on printed schedules and on the MAX website (click here). Finally, located on each bus stop sign post are the approximate departure times for each route serving that stop.
- Why was my bus late?
- MAX makes a concerted effort to ensure that all buses run according to published schedules; however, buses will occasionally be late due to circumstances beyond our control. Delays due to unusual traffic congestion and traffic accidents are the main culprits but delays due to mechanical and passenger issues are also contributing factors.
- How can I plan a trip that requires more than one bus system
- The Easy Rider Trip Planner includes information from all transit systems in Stanislaus County. Just type in the beginning and ending points of your trip and it will tell you exactly which routes to use within each city you will be travelling. It gives detailed instructions on where to board each individual bus you will need to ride, regardless of the community in which you begin and end your trip. Click here for the Easy Rider Trip Planner.
In An Emergency
Non-Emergency Police Dispatch