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Ventura County Transportation Commission boosts bus service in some areas

posted Sep 7, 2011, 12:22 PM by Unknown user

By Rachel McGrath - Ventura County Star

Originally published 04:59 p.m., August 31, 2011
Updated 05:38 p.m., August 31, 2011

Evening Dial-A-Ride service to Fillmore and Piru have been reinstated as a result of a slight increase in California sales tax revenue, the Ventura County Transportation Commission announced Wednesday.

The service to the east end of the Heritage Valley had been cut off at 6 p.m. because of a funding decline, said commission Executive Director Darren Kettle. But with the upswing in revenues, Dial-A-Ride vehicles once again will be available for those who need them until 8 p.m.

"What funds much of the transportation in Ventura County is a statewide one-quarter cent sales tax," Kettle said. "With the recession, retail sales declined, and that revenue was hit. Now it's flattened out and rebounded slightly and is starting to generate more revenue."

Up to four Dial-A-Ride vehicles will be available for service within the Heritage Valley on weekday evenings, based on customer demand.

Riders in Fillmore and Piru also will continue to be served by late VISTA bus service, which links Santa Paula, Fillmore and Piru to Ventura.

The increase in sales tax revenue also is allowing the commission to boost service on its Coastal Express bus route, which offers commuters transportation from Ventura to Santa Barbara and Goleta.

An additional bus will leave the Ventura County Government Center at 8 a.m. on weekdays, bridging the gap between the existing 7:50 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. departures.

Return service from Goleta to Ventura has been added at 6:25 p.m.

The new services already have started. The news comes in the same week as the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments' introduction of the Coastal Express Limited. The new bus service aimed at commuters offers nonstop travel at peak times from the Ventura County Government Center to downtown Santa Barbara and Goleta.

Kettle said the new services from both agencies will help meet a huge demand for affordable travel options from people who live in Ventura County but work in Santa Barbara.

"One of the things that happens with the Coastal Express is that we put buses out and we fill them very quickly," Kettle said. "With this additional Coastal Express service and with the Coastal Express Limited, we increase the level of service in peak periods by 20 percent. That's the highest increase in additional capacity since the inception of the Coastal Express."

The commission's expanded services will cost $23,000 a year for the additional round-trip for the Coastal Express bus and $118,000 a year for the additional Heritage Valley Dial-A-Ride services, Kettle said.

VISTA also announced Wednesday that the bus service between Camarillo Metrolink station and CSU Channel Islands will be reduced for school breaks.

During the winter and summer recess, the last bus will leave the Metrolink station at 5:30 p.m. and the last bus will leave C Street in Oxnard at 5 p.m. Service while school is in session remains unchanged.

Go online to or call 800-642-4860 for additional information.

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