Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Vacaville transit center to take fuss out of catching bus

August 14, 2007

Vacaville transit center to take fuss out of catching bus

By Ian Thompson

VACAVILLE - Vacaville City Coach bus riders will soon have a safer, more convenient place downtown to catch a bus.

The downtown transit plaza, which has been in the works for more than a decade, will be formally dedicated at 10 a.m. Wednesday and then open for business Monday.

The new facility is located on what was once a service station at the corner of Monte Vista Avenue and Cernon Street. Work started in October 2006 on the $1.8 million project.

"This offers us a great potential for many more people to see us in operation and to see that City Coach is a fast and frequent service," Transit Manager Brian McLean said. "It is a perfect location. It is only one block away from our current transit station."

At present, bus passengers catch the bus on the sidewalk on Kendall Street in front of the Bank of America.

The transit plaza will feature five illuminated bus shelters, benches, a 33-foot-tall clock tower, rest rooms and a turnaround area for buses.

"It was built to accommodate an ever increasing number of transit riders in the city and help with the expansion of our transit services," city spokesman Mark Mazzaferro said.

What the transit plaza does not have is a lot of on-site parking, but the city has several municipal parking lots within close walking distance, Mazzaferro said.

"Parking will be addressed in the future for all of the downtown in general," Mazzaferro said.

The plaza is the city's latest step in an effort to improve Vacaville's transit system. Buses now arrive at each city bus stop once every 30 minutes instead of once an hour.

Ridership has increased significantly from a little more than 700 riders a day last year to just more than 800 a day as of June, according to Mazzaferro.

Vacaville is also in the planning stages for a major transit facility, which will be located near Ulatis Community Center. The facility would be similar to the one Fairfield has on West Texas Street, McLean said.

"We are working on getting funding for that," McLean said of the project he hopes will be completed by 2009.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or at ithompson@dailyrepublic.net.

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