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Transit changes proposed
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A public meeting is set for Thursday on a proposed set of changes to the Ceres Dial-A-Ride and Ceres Area Transit bus system.

The city is proposing to raise fares in order to satisfy the federal government's requirement that the system pulls in at least 10 percent of its operations cost through the fare box. The city's costs have gone up mostly due to labor costs increasing.

Another proposed change is altering Ceres Area Transit (CAT) Route B to include more commercial areas in an attempt to increase ridership and fare box receipts.

The city is finding "good ridership" with CAT route A in northeast Ceres but finds CAT route B lacking. By expanding the route out further north on Crows Landing Road and head east on Whitmore Avenue to stop at new businesses, the city hopes to get more riders.

City officials are also considering revisions to its "no show" and cancellation policy in an attempt to curb the incidence of people flaking out on rides they call for.

The proposed changes to the no show policy is being crafted to cut down on the amount of people who call for rides but aren't there to meet the bus when it arrives. Currently the city's policy cuts off bus service to anyone who has three no-shows within a 30-day period. If the person doesn't have another no-show in the next 30 days, riding privileges are restored. The new policy would change things to where a third no-show within the next 12 months could suspend riding privileges.

The workshop, set for 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Ceres City Council Chambers, 2220 Magnolia, will be to collect input from the public before the City Council acts on the proposal on May 11.

The city is proposing to increase Dial-A-Ride general fares from $1.25 to $1.75 effective July 1. Fares for seniors 65 and older as well as disabled persons would increase from $1 to $1.25 per ride.

The general fare is proposed to rise from $1 to $1.25 per ride for the fixed route system while fares for seniors and disabled rise from 75 cents to $1.

"It is important not to raise fares too much, as a loss in ridership could occur," said Kay Dunkel, an administrative analyst with the city of Ceres. She said the city is not currently meeting the minimum 10 percent farebox ratio and needs to do so.

CAT service is also proposed to be eliminated on Sundays, said Dunkel.

The city wants to also intice more riders by upgrading five bus stations with shelters and lighting at a cost of $66,000.