Transit system gets a yes vote

May 05, 2003 11:00 pm

By SCOTT PESZNECKER

Last month, it looked like Calaveras Transit was done for.

But yesterday, supervisors decided public buses will roll through Calaveras County for at least another six months. After that, there's no telling what type of vehicles will be used for public transportation.

Supervisors voted 3-2 yesterday to hire a new company to manage the county's bus system, and to continue the service through 2007.

However, a clause in the contract allows the county to review the agreement in six months. The county can, at that time, choose a new form of public transportation or terminate the contract.

On April 7, supervisors voted 3-2 to deny a motion similar to the one they approved yesterday.

But Supervisor Victoria Erickson had a change of heart. She joined supervisors Merita Callaway and Lucy Thein in supporting Calaveras Transit.

Erickson said she changed her vote because George Dondero, executive director of the Council of Governments, promised to create a committee to study public transportation in the county.

The group will think of ways to market the transit system, study efficient transportation and discuss how to increase ridership.

That team approach is what swayed Erickson's vote, she said.

Supervisors appointed Erickson to be their representative on the new committee.

"I'm anxious to sit on this team of people to think of different alternatives," she said.

During the meeting, Dondero told supervisors that his staff and consultants needed more time to complete a thorough transit report.

The six-month clause "gives the county the flexibility to determine the best form of transit service while not interrupting service, which is important to the traveling public," Dondero said.

"We're pleased to offer you what we think is a win-win situation."

Supervisors Paul Stein and Tom Tryon continued to vote against the transit system, saying the government shouldn't spend so much of taxpayers' money on a bus system that few people ride.