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Mar 18

Bus Services Merging to Provide a Better Rider Experience

Posted on March 18, 2021 at 12:05 PM by Alyssa Adams

Public transit users in Modesto and throughout Stanislaus County will soon notice a simplified rider experience. Modesto Area Express (MAX) and Stanislaus Regional Transit (StaRT) will merge into one seamless system called the Stanislaus Regional Transit Authority (StanRTA).

The consolidation will plan more effective routes, reduce duplicated services, and give riders an improved travel experience throughout much of the county.

The new transit system is expected to be simpler and easier to use, which will enhance mobility options and should attract more users. Currently, some riders have to purchase multiple tickets and use multiple services for longer rides. The new system will allow riders to use just one ticket and one service for most area bus services.

StanRTA will officially take over operations beginning July 1, 2021. Riders will not be affected by any immediate operational changes but can expect to see gradual improvements start in early 2022.

The Stanislaus Council of Governments (StanCOG) worked with the City Modesto, the City of Turlock, and Stanislaus County to perform a county-wide Transit Efficiency and Innovations Study in late 2019, which recommended the merger.

The City of Modesto and Stanislaus County unanimously agreed to move forward with a joint powers agency on January 26. The joint powers agency allows MAX (which includes Modesto Dial-a-Ride) and StaRT to combine into a new, independent organization, StanRTA.

“Transit riders having the ability to use one ticket and pay one fee to move around the majority of the county is really important,” said Modesto Council Member Jenny Kenoyer, who is also a StanCOG Policy Board member and on the board for StanRTA.

The City will be contracted to perform routine maintenance on all buses and will continue to own and operate the Amtrak Station and the Transit Center after the consolidation. Transit operations—including scheduling, planning, and running the bus services—will be the responsibility of the new StanRTA organization.

The community will be included in the rebranding process and in scheduling and planning bus routes. Riders can stay up to date on any changes by checking the StanRTA website.