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).
Modesto Mayor Sue Zwahlen is excited about the merging of transit operations that will provide improved service to the community expected from the creation of StanRTA. StanRTA will officially take over operations beginning on Thursday, July 1, 2021. Riders will not be affected by any immediate operational changes but can expect to see gradual improvements start in early 2022. Riders can continue purchasing passes and ask transit questions at the customer service counter at the Transit Center for MAX and StaRT bus routes.
The StanRTA will plan more effective routes, reduce duplicated services, and give riders an improved travel experience throughout much of the county. The new transit system will be simpler and easier to use, which will enhance mobility options and should attract more users.
The Stanislaus Council of Governments (StanCOG) worked with the City of 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 a member of the StanCOG Policy Board and the inaugural Chairperson for StanRTA.
Transit operations—including scheduling, planning, and running the bus services—will be handled directly by the StanRTA. The City is contracted by the StanRTA to perform routine maintenance on all buses and transit facilities.
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.