LIVERMORE -- Public transportation in the Tri-Valley is getting a boost in August when the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority implements a series of route changes with some cuts making it possible to extend and improve other existing routes.
The authority's board, which oversees the Wheels bus system, voted June 4 to add just more than 1,700 service hours to six different routes, including extensions to four routes.
"We optimized some service routes," said Sylvia Cox, LAVTA's director of planning and communications. "The cost savings to us allowed us to redistribute service to other areas."
The board's vote affected 14 Wheels routes that provide service to Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton and southern San Ramon. Routes 1, 2, 201 and 202 will have services extended beginning in August, according to the authority's staff report.
Extended service will be offered to eastern Dublin, with the extensions occurring on the routes east of Tassajara Road. Route 1 will see service extended on Sundays east of Tassajara Road down Dublin Boulevard to El Charro Road and back down on westbound Interstate 580. Route 2 will extend north on Tassajara from North Dublin to Fallon Road and back down to Central Parkway, eventually ending at Grafton.
Routes 201 and 202 will also extend access to areas between Tassajara and Fallon Roads, including future service for Route 202 east of Bent Tree, Cox said. Saturday service on Route 12 was also extended
"Some of those routes are in key areas with growth that include senior housing and affordable housing, and people that rely on the service," said Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti, one of seven board members who include two council members from Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore and Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty.
"It is also critical with the new Target and the outlets that are going open in that area," Sbranti said. "There will be a lot of Tri-Valley residents that will work there and want access there."
LAVTA held a number of community meetings to gather input on what type of service should be restored, and where. The information gleaned from those meetings helped the authority also improve efficiency on seven other routes and increasing the frequency on Route 3 to every 30 minutes beginning in 2013.
The changes also included two routes, 612 and 9, that were either discontinued or had a portion discontinued. Route 612 which serviced Harvest Park Middle was discontinued with riders being able to pick up service on Routes 8 and 10. Route 9 had service the Chabot loop on the interline trips discontinued.
"The expansion will service riders that need to get to school or work," Sbranti said. "It helps keep our communities connected, not just us but for the entire Tri-Valley.
"Being what the budget was, we had to make some difficult decisions in areas of need and that were underserved," he added.
In 2009, LAVTA cut 30,000 services hours on 11 different routes.
In other news, the board also approved an operating budget for the 2012/2013 fiscal year that increased 4.7 percent from $14.6 million to $15.3 million.
To see a complete look at the route changes visit www.wheelsbus.com.
Contact Robert Jordan at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/robjordan127.