The City of Turlock, through its newly rebranded Turlock Transit system, will be wishing the Stanislaus State community a very Happy New Year in a very substantial and moving manner.
Starting Jan. 2, not only will the city’s bus service expand from four to six routes while making most of the routes dual-directional (instead of continuous one-way loops) but hours of service will be expanded, and — best of all for Stan State students — riding the bus will be free for all students showing Warrior Cards.
The free rides are thanks to a partnership between University student government and the City of Turlock, resulting from the combined efforts of Stan State students Josephine Hazelton and ASI President Nicole Larson.
Hazelton’s plan to include more of Stan State’s needs into the city’s transportation effort was part of a presentation that won her the inaugural Mayor’s Award, and eventually resulted in her getting an internship with the city.
“Josephine and I were in student government together here at Stan State and also were really good friends in high school, but I didn’t know about her passion for public transportation until this collaboration started,” Larson said. “A lot of people think Turlock should be more of a college town, but for that to happen students have to have a way to get into town.
“I ran for president two years ago on a platform of figuring out a transportation initiative that would result in better bus routes for students, and it just happened that the City of Turlock was reevaluating their short-range transit goals. As part of their shared governance policy, they invited groups to express their desires for public transit, and we were one of those groups. Everything lined up for us, because we were getting involved with the process at the same time Josephine was getting an internship.”
In addition to the free fare, here are some of the system upgrades that will benefit Stan State students:
- Extended hours. Currently, the Turlock system runs 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. weekdays and 10:10 a.m.-4:10 p.m. on Saturdays. Starting Jan. 2, the new hours are 6 a.m.-9 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturdays. No Sunday service has been added.
- The expansion of bus routes from four to six, means shorter route times. According to Turlock transit planner Scott Medeiros, no trips within the system should be longer than 35 minutes.
- Most current bus routes are a continuous loop starting and ending at the Turlock Transit Center. Under the new plan, most bus routes will run in both directions, again resulting in shorter and more-direct service throughout the city.
- Additional stops around campus will see buses arrive with greater frequency. The city’s transit website is being redesigned, but visit http://www.turlock.ca.us/transitservices/ for updates.
If all goes as planned, everybody wins. While students get free bus travel on updated and more-direct routes, the city also hopes to benefit from more student visits to downtown and the Monte Vista Crossroads shopping area. And it all serves to continue to bring the University and Turlock closer together.
“I really think this is a service all universities should provide for their students,” Larson said. “This is a huge benefit, and while we really can’t estimate right now how many students will be riding, we’d like to make riding the bus a normal thing for students.”