Visalia, Farmersville and Exeter staff continue to work together in order to create the best possible public transportation options for their citizens. Visalia Transit has some changes coming to bus lines beginning in July. The public comment period has been extended through August 18 – leaving some changes to not be implemented until the first of next year.
Christine Chavez, Visalia Transit regional planner, gave a presentation at the last Farmersville City Council meeting to lend further understanding to the Council and Farmersville residents. The goal is to make the routes more efficient and to streamline them, she said.
In a nutshell, Route 12 that travels within Visalia city limits and on to Farmersville and Exeter, along Caldwell-Visalia Rd., will no longer maintain travel between cities. Route 12, with one bus operating daily, will continue within Visalia, better addressing some of that city’s transportation issues.
Route 9, which travels from the Visalia Transit Center to Farmersville, and further to Exeter, along Walnut, will continue – maintaining two buses along that route.
The two routes, were “essentially a duplication” of each other, Chavez said.
There had been some discussion about adding a third bus to that route, but Exeter does not want to pay for it, she said, citing that city’s budget problems with transportation.
All three cities – Visalia, Farmersville and Exeter – have seen a decline in the use of public transportation. Visalia’s decline has been about 10% per year, Chavez said. As such, Visalia is looking at cutting back on some routes within its city limits.
Through various grants, Farmersville continues its roadwork, which includes a bus stop, and bus turnaround on South Farmersville Blvd., approximately one mile south of Visalia Rd. The stop and turnaround were designed with Route 12 in mind. Now that part of the discussion is aimed around Route 9 traveling south along Farmersville Blvd. on an on-demand basis. However, that probability would not occur until the first of next year.
Visalia Transit offers other on-demand service. Within Visalia, Goshen and Farmersville it offers Dial-A-Ride services. It will also be picking up Exeter’s service on July 1. Riders must call ahead, up to two weeks in advance, to arrange for transport. However, one may call the day of the service need, and will be scheduled in, as soon as possible. Dial-A-Ride services are offered from 6am – 9:30pm weekdays, and 8am – 6:30pm on weekends. They are closed on some holidays.
Farmersville Councilman Greg Gomez brought up the need for transportation within the city, as well as the importance of marketing public transportation, suggesting the possibility of having locations within the city that could sell bus passes. Currently various passes are available on each bus, online and at the transit center. In partnership with non-profit organizations, discounted passes are also available, such as through C-SET and senior centers.
Further discussion ensued about having a circulating van or trolley that would drive around various common destinations within town and out to the Highway 198-Farmersvile Blvd. area. It was suggested that perhaps this could also connect between Farmersville and Exeter.
Chavez said she would be happy to explore the idea with the city, but financially it would be Farmersville’s responsibility, with the possibility of partnering with Exeter.
“I would be a big proponent of it,” Gomez said. “It’s a great way to travel.”
All Visalia Transit routes, information and proposed changes may be found on its website, www.visaliatransit.com. Documents are also available at the Transit Center, 425 E. Oak Ave. Ste. 301.