By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Storer lone bidder to operate CAT
Placeholder Image
City officials were hoping see more than one bid but went ahead in granting Storer Transportation of Modesto the contract to operate transit services in Ceres for the next five years.

Storer has been providing Dial-A-Ride and Ceres Area Transit fixed route bus service in Ceres since 1998. The contract was due to expire in June.

Mayor Anthony Cannella noted that the city had no choice to consider other providers since none submitted bids. Kay Dunkel, the city's administrative analyst, suggested that nine other firms expressed interest initially but may have been scared off by Storer's solid reputation in Ceres.

Storer will use six new 2008 16-passenger and two wheelchair position buses for operations. The city of Ceres will continue to supply two 2004 buses that run on compressed natural gas (CNG) and a 1997 diesel bus.

Officials noted that the Ceres transit system is a red ink program, sustained only through state Local Transportation Funds (LTF). The first year cost is $1.28 million. The state requires that fares meet 10 percent of the cost of operation but Ceres has fallen short, forcing a possible increase in fares or seek more funds elsewhere.

Storer's new contract calls for reimbursement at a rate of $66.17 per vehicle service hour. The current contract rate is about $55.15 per hour.

"We are disappointed it as high as it is," said Dunkel. "Even through they are a good contractor we would have liked to see more bids."

Those rates would have been higher if it weren't for the fact that the county and city of Modesto share in Storer's operation.

Mayor Cannella wondered if the lack of competition allowed Storer to slip in an increase in costs. Dunkel, however, said the contract price is higher because of higher wages, the increased costs of fuels and the higher costs of vehicles. She said also that Storer submitted their bid believing that others would be competing.

Dunkel said both state and federal governments mandate transit services as a way of meeting unmet transit needs. While one intent of the program is to get people to leave their cars at home and reduce pollution by ride sharing, the other is to allow people without cars to get around.

The Ceres Dial-A-Ride service is available weekdays 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Persons who want rides must call at least an hour in advance at 527-4991. Fares are $1.25 for the general population.

The fixed route system (CAT) operates 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays.

More information about transit systems is available on the city's website,