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Storer wins 5-year contract for Ceres transit services
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Although it was not the lowest of two bidders, Storer Transit Systems was given another five years to operate the Ceres Area Transit (CAT) fixed-route and Dial-A-Ride bus systems.

Storer was awarded a $925,294 contract even though MV Transportation of Dallas, Texas, offered to do the task for $41,495 less. The contract went to Storer after a panel of experts from the cities of Ceres and Modesto and Stanislaus County scored both on their merits. The two firms were judged on the basis of technical proposal (35 percent), organizational strength (25 percent), cost (30 percent) and employee retention (10 percent). The three entities were involved because the contract is a joint venture between Ceres, Modesto and county, partly because of cost effectiveness and smoothness between connections.

The new four-year agreement kicks into place on July 1 and goes until July 1, 2019. The new contract pays Storer $67.52 per vehicle service hour, which is up from the $66.19 rate set in 2008. The contract will be flexible to reflect rising fuel costs should they occur in the future. Triggered a contract change for fuel costs is a 10 percent rise that is maintained for 90 consecutive days.

"Storer Transit System's proposal showed staffing levels to meet the service level needs of Ceres Dial-A-Ride and CAT," wrote Deputy City Manager/City Engineer Toby Wells in his report to the City Council. "Also, their proposal showed personnel benefits that will help with employee retention. A high quality of service is important as our transit system provides a valuable service for vulnerable seniors and disabled persons, as well as the general public."

He also noted that Storer has provided high-quality maintenance to Storer vehicles and city-owned vehicles and has won state and federal safety awards.

Ceres Dial-A-Ride services are offered 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays; and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Storer supplies two to three DAR vehicles from busiest times on weekdays but goes to a fourth sometimes in the afternoons.

The CAT system runs three 13-mile routes on weekdays while Route C operates on weekends.

The Ceres bus system accepts transfers from Modesto Area Dial-A-Ride, Modesto Area Express and the StaRT fixed route bus service. The transfer points for the Modesto system is at the northeast corner of Herndon and Hatch roads, on the north side of Hatch Road between Herndon Road and Richland Avenue, and Hackett Road near Crowslanding Road.

Transfer points for the county bus system are on the south side of Hatch Road between Herndon Road and Richland Avenue; Richland Avenue south of Hatch Road; Hackett Road near Crowslanding Road; Magnolia Street west of Third Street; Magnolia and Ninth streets; and Mitchell Road south of Whitmore Avenue.